Panera, Ex-Worker Settle Food Allergy Harassment-on-Job Case
A man with multiple food allergies, including peanuts and tree nuts, has settled a workplace harassment case with his former employer, Panera LLC, a division of Panera Bread Co.
Dustin Maldonado of Troy, New York, had sued Panera LLC in November 2015, citing discrimination that led to “severe, pervasive and dangerous harassment” and a hostile work environment during the time he was an assistant manager at a Panera bakery-café in upstate New York.
Then, earlier in 2016, the company responded to deny the allegations, and faulted Maldonado for not disciplining subordinates involved in the alleged acts of harassment.
But now the two parties have come to a confidential settlement. A joint statement issued on June 8 by both Maldonado and Panera gives no details, but says the two sides “have amicably resolved Mr. Maldonado’s lawsuit to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.”
The statement further says that, “in resolving this matter, Panera reaffirms that it takes food allergies seriously and, as made clear in the company’s policies, does not condone discrimination of any kind.” The parties do not reveal whether there was a financial settlement.
In his suit brought forward by the firm Stein & Vargas, LLP, Maldonado had alleged that his general manager and coworkers often taunted him about his allergy, exposed him to peanuts, and even tricked him into biting into a nut-containing cookie.