- Courtesy Photo / Lion & Rose Restaurant & Pub
In a filing made Monday, general manager Gary Bruce claims to have been terminated for confronting restaurant owner Allen Tharp about sick pay he should have been paid under federal rules after he took time off to quarantine. A separate filing from bartender Michael Summers alleges he was fired for taking time off to be tested.
In a statement provided by the restaurant’s public relations firm, owner Tharp said the organization only terminates employment with "justifiable cause."
"The Lion & Rose prides itself in operating its restaurant and bar in compliance with all legal requirements, therefore we are confident we will be absolved of all accusations," the statement read. "We do not wish to comment on the pending litigation at this time."
Under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, employers are required to provide sick leave when workers experience coronavirus symptoms and take time off to get a diagnosis. The sick leave is required, regardless of whether the worker tests positive for COVID-19.
The former workers seek financial damages, lost wages and benefits, attorney fees and court costs.
The suits are among the first filed in San Antonio by employees who claim they were fired after taking time off to deal with COVID-19 symptoms. However, San Antonio attorney Michael V. Galo Jr., who represents the plaintiffs, told the Express-News they won't be the last.
“We’ve got a couple more coming,” Galo said. “Most employers, it seems to me, are very caring, concerned, and are doing the right thing. But we are seeing some instances where employers, for whatever reason, are firing people for having COVID.”
So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.