Applebee’s Waitress Claims She Was Only Given Black Tables to Serve

November 11, 2011  |  

A black waitress in Towson, MD, who was fired earlier this year, has filed a discrimination complaint against Applebee’s, claiming that she was harassed by a manager on the job and only allowed to serve tables with black customers.

Although Courtney Haywood, 23, started working at the restaurant as a server and bartender in 2007, she claims it wasn’t until new management took over the restaurant in May 2011 that she was restricted to only serving black customers. Haywood said “I talked to a manager, who kept saying, ‘I will take care of it, don’t worry about it.’ And nothing was taken care of.”

A communications firm for Applebee’s released a statement saying, “We take these allegations very seriously. We’re fully committed to creating a fair work environment for all of our team members. We have not received a copy of the alleged complaint, so we do not have any further information to offer at this time.”

I hope Haywood will be properly compensated if her claim is true. Do you think she has a solid case on her hands? Discrimination suits are common, as is racism, but it is so hard to prove.

Have you had similar experiences on your job? What did you do?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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  • I wish it were a myth that black people often tip less if at all, however it is not.

  • I am so sick of blacks playing the race card, especially now they have Obama.

  • JJ


  • JJ

    I’m with Marcia and Liluvnpeace…..I’m a black waitress and unfortunately my own people tend to be a bit more demanding and don’t believe in tipping.  I agree that if a server us not good then you shouldn’t give them anything but for some reason black folk don’t believe in the system of tipping…at all!!!! Then when and if they come back I don’t give them the service I gave before ….BECAUSE THEY DON’T PAY FOR IT. Come on black people TIP…It means Tipping Insures Proper Service. Not only was she treated unfairly….I bet she didn’t make any money. I’ll take the white tables any day!!!!!

  • sincerelyme

    ive know courtney sice i was three….am the god mother of her child. never met anyone more loyal. she has been telling me similar stories for the past three years. the job market is tight so leaving to find other work whilepaying your way through school is hard…. but it sad and a shame that you can exercise the right to an open door policy in the work place when injustice takes place. she wouldnt make the story up. she’d give you the clothes off her back and her absolute last …..

  • Girliusmaximus

    Applebees = Yuck

  • Not to be the “bxtch” here, but I find that when I go out (as a black girl myself) I respond better to black waiters. I’m not sure why. I feel more comfortable with them. Most of the time, they don’t seem to be scared of me and my group of friends (also black). I find that white people (waiters) have these bad notions about blacks so they will feel uncomfortable around us or try too hard to be nice. This also happens when I am in a store, etc. I am just naturally comfortable with having black people help me because I don’t have to worry about someone feeling weird around me. 

    • Zsa Zsa Gabor

      Wonder why white people feel that way? Must be a reason.

    • LogicalPosition

      TY for being honest about these matters.

    • That’s because you’re a racist.

      Glad I could clear that up for you.

  • Liluvnpeace

    and DO NOT GET ME WRONG. im not saying All blk ppl dont tip but most of them dont! if u worked as a waitress u know what im talkin bout.

    • LaLaLaMeansILoveYou

      co-sign 100%

    • Yes, I worked as a waitress for 3 1/2 years at an Applebee’s. Blacks are treated unfairly at ANY restaurant they go to because most servers think the same way. Being a server, I’ve been treated unfairly so many times, and I know it’s because they think I am not going to tip. They also think black women are the worst tippers. You can’t blame someone for having an attitude or complaining when most often than not, you go to their table with an attitude because you are thinking “they aren’t going to tip me, so I’m not going to really waste my time.” People notice that, and that makes them NOT want to tip you. Regardless, it’s ignorant and it does happen. When we stop having the mentality of “Black people don’t tip,’ and stop treating it as such, then maybe you will make more money at the end of the day. Like I said before, I made most of my money from black people, and our restaurant was in an predominately black area, and I was 1 of 3 black servers, and for the most part, they didn’t tip the non-black servers who went to their tables with attitudes!

  • Liluvnpeace

    seriously, i used to work as a waitress too and to be honest black ppl dont tip; complain a lot; they r toooo needy, ask for extra this extra that……servers get paid minimum wage or even less cause the get tips. and for servers tip is pretty much their wage! ppl dont seem to understand that. and i cant say for sure but from experience i have a feeling that she complained because of the tip situation….do u all think if she was tipped equal or better that the others she would have complained? i doubt it! im just keepin it real!

    • Zsa Zsa Gabor

      I had the same experience. It was usually a bad time and a bad tip.

  • Sad thing is, I know what that’s like AND I worked at an Applebee’s. Most white servers don’t want to serve black people. I had no issue with it, I just wanted to make my money, but it was discriminatory. It is a MAJOR issue in most restaurants. Most people don’t think black people tip. For the record, I’ve got some of my best tips from black people, AND most of the ones who walked out on their check, or just not tipped were non-blacks.

    • Thank you. I am so tired of this blacks don’t tip myth. Me and my friends go out dining regularly, so when we do, we always joke, “Who’s tipping tonight?” But most of the time we all end up throwing a tip in (sometimes even with gratuity in it). I know how hard it is when you have a job that pays so/so. I figure if i am going out for a dinner, I can afford to tip the person for their good service.

      • Zsa Zsa Gabor

        It’s far from a myth. I was given one dollar by black tables MANY times on checks over 100 dollars after being run ragged. It’s not ALWAYS but it’s OFTEN.

  • Kayla

    what i wanna know is, what was soo bad in serving black tables? what is she trying to imply? it’s either racism on her part or the managers part… sounds fishy to me…. 

    • reese

      Here in my state she wouldn’t make anything with only black tables we are less than 2% of the population.

    • LaLaLaMeansILoveYou

      Hate to say it but honestly…as a former waitress (I worked at a restaurant throughout high school), when we would see black customers come in the door we wouldn’t exactly be fighting to take the table either (I’m black also, and so were half of the other servers where I worked). Nothing personal, and yes of course there are exceptions, but as a whole, many black customers do not tip properly. They just don’t. Then they want to run you back and forth a million times (instead of asking for extra such and such all at one time, make you run and get something then wait until you get back to ask for something else then wait until you get back to ask for something else), talk to you crazy to impress their little friends, then complain that you had the nerve to actually charge them for everything they ordered instead of “hooking them up” on the drinks. Then leave you a couple of quarters on the table as a tip and walk out talking about “and she LUCKY she got THAT much”.

      And don’t LET it be a bunch of black CHURCH folk coming in, I’m running the other way. They are THEE WORST customers EVER. Sorry but I was a server for a few years so I’m just calling it how I see it. I was more concerned with being able to pay my bills than being politically correct. Again, all coming from a black person.

    • sincerelyme

      there is nothing wrong with serving blacks, until your managers tell you “you can deal with them better”….and your white manager consistenly calls you “lady” rather than your name… its no different than a white man calling a black man “boy”

      ive known courtney 19 years and she wouldn’t pull the story out thin air or go through the hassle if the story was “fishy”…. being a single mom trying to raise a kid and put your self through school, im quite sure she had more important things to do than make up a fishy story

  • Marcia

     I bet she was mad cuz white folks tip better.

    • Liluvnpeace

      i swear to God i was gonna say the same thing!

    • don fong

      i’d be mad too if i always got stuck with people who tip less. i’m not necessarily saying that it’s true, but “if” a certain type of people tip less, then it is unfair to always assign a particular wait person to serve people of that type.


    bad service and racism there.