Lexington KY restaurant faces wrongful termination lawsuit

Frank & Dino's restaurant on the corner of Short Street and Mill Street.  August 16, 2021.

Frank & Dino’s restaurant on the corner of Short Street and Mill Street. August 16, 2021.


Lexington restaurant Frank and Dino’s is being sued by a former employee who claims she was fired for her looks, age and weight.

Scarlett Tracey, a 47-year-old Frankfort resident, filed a lawsuit last week alleging the restaurant owner made multiple derogatory comments about her appearance and ultimately fired her for her physical appearance.

According to the lawsuit, Tracey was hired after a soft opening of the restaurant in August 2021, when she purposely bought black clothes and went behind the bar to help a struggling bartender during busy office hours. She was informed by a manager that she had been hired for the position.

The lawsuit alleges the manager heard the owner say, “Are you hiring bartenders by the pound now?” and that Tracey was “not attractive enough to work” at the restaurant.

Almost a month after being hired, the manager told Tracey that the owner asked him to fire Tracey because “she didn’t fit the image of the restaurant and wasn’t attractive enough to work behind the bar” , according to court documents.

She also alleges that she was called “fat and ugly” by the landlord, according to the lawsuit.

In a sworn statement from the former manager, he said the landlord told him: ‘I want you fired (Tracey). She’s ugly though. I don’t need that (Tracey) behind my bar anymore.

This manager said in the affidavit that Tracey was a dependable and competent bartender who was qualified for the job due to decades of employment and service.

“The (owner’s) decision to fire Tracey was directly motivated by her physical appearance and her age,” the affidavit states.

An anonymous Frank and Dino’s employee told the Herald-Leader that the restaurant would not comment on the lawsuit.

But WKYT, the Herald-Leader’s reporting partner, reported that restaurant representatives said they fired Tracey because of her job performance. They said she was late for work, didn’t show up for work, and used drugs.

She was fired on September 15, 2021. According to her lawyer, Brad Zoppoth, there was no documentation of these issues and Tracey never received corrective action or warnings regarding attendance, performance or discipline. .

“There is no documentation of any of these issues, and this is what we call a pretext basis for termination, it’s made up,” Zoppoth said. “There is no evidence these issues were happening in the workplace and they are vehemently denied by Tracey.”

She is suing for discrimination based on sex and age for unlawful dismissal. Tracey hopes to recover compensatory and punitive damages.

In addition to two written affidavits from former Tracey supervisors, Zoppoth said he took Tracey’s case to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which found there were grounds reasonable to believe that the restaurant violated non-discrimination laws.

“It’s strong evidence we have for the trial,” Zoppoth said. “…It benefits from the support and support of employees and an impartial administrative organization.

This story was originally published September 8, 2022 10:07 a.m.

Taylor Six is ​​the criminal justice reporter at the Herald-Leader. She was born and raised in Lexington at Lafayette High School. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 2018 with a degree in journalism. She previously worked as a government reporter for the Richmond Register.

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