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Judge: Gates Bar-B-Q retaliated against workers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A National Labor Relations Board judge has ruled that Gates & Sons Bar-B-Q unfairly discriminated against employees after they participated in a one-day walkout that sought higher wages for fast-food workers.

The case was one of several dozen allegations of unlawful discrimination filed against the Kansas City-area barbeque restaurant operators after the protest last July, The Kansas City Star reported.

Employees at the Gates restaurant in central Kansas City alleged in their complaint that the company discontinued a long tradition of offering employees free lunches shortly after they took part in the protest. The complaint was filed by the Workers’ Organizing Committee of Kansas City.

NLRB judge Paul Bogas ruled Tuesday that it was unlawful discrimination and ordered the restaurant to reinstate free lunches. He said Gates couldn’t prove there was a business or financial reason for its decision to end the free lunches or that it was unrelated to the workers’ walkout.

Gates has 14 days to respond to the order.

Testimony indicated the restaurant manager told workers such things as they would “feel (his) wrath” if they participated in the walkout and “either you are with me or you are against me.”

The strikers were allowed to return to their jobs after initially not being scheduled for work, the decision said, but a sign was posted a week later discontinuing the lunches.

Company attorney Willis L. Toney said the restaurant chain would “have no comment whatsoever” about the decision.

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