parlor pizza chicago

Parlor Pizza Being Investigated for Alleged Labor, Anti-Discrimination Violations

The recent city investigation isn't the first time Parlor has been accused of discrimination

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Parlor Pizza is being investigated by two Chicago departments after recent allegations the city-based pizza chain violated labor and anti-discrimination ordinances.

In a statement obtained by NBC 5, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and the Chicago Commission of Human Relations said they are taking "very seriously" recently reported allegations against Parlor Pizza in which employees reported they were not paid for overtime work and were sexually harassed and that customers were discriminated against based on race or age.

"Businesses operating in Chicago should be aware that BACP and the CCHR will not tolerate disregard for the city’s labor or anti-discrimination laws, and that businesses will be held accountable for any violations," the departments wrote in a joint statement. "As employers in the city of Chicago, businesses are responsible for fostering safe and lawful working conditions and for ensuring that their accommodations are free from discrimination based on race, age, sex or any other protected class."

The allegations were first reported by Block Club Chicago last week, which said former employees reported customers of color were seated in areas known unofficially as “rejection sections” at the company's River North location. Other allegations of lack of overtime pay and harassment were reported across Parlor Pizza's three Chicago locations, the publication stated.

Parlor Pizza said in a statement to NBC 5 that it "firmly" disputes the allegations "and the blatantly false picture being painted of our restaurants, how we operate them and how we treat our valued employees and customers."

"We disavow racism and any discriminatory behavior at all Parlor locations and would immediately terminate any employee who acted in such a despicable way," the company's statement read. "Respect, dignity and professionalism are the bedrocks of our workplace policies and culture. This is more than a business to us – we care deeply about our hundreds of employees, who are hard-working, dedicated and as diverse as the customers we are proud to serve."

Parlor said it plans to "fully cooperate" with a review of its business and is "confident" any such investigation will "disprove the allegations."

BACP asked employees of Parlor Pizza "who believe they were harmed" contact the Office of Labor Standards via email at laborstandards@cityofchicago.org or by phone at (312) 744-2211. Customers who believe they were discriminated against based on race, national origin, age or a disability are asked to contact CCHR by sending an email to  cchr@cityofchicago.org or by calling (312) 744-4474.

The recent city investigation isn't the first time Parlor has been accused of discrimination.

In 2019, a man told NBC 5 in an exclusive interview that he was denied entrance to the West Loop pizza restaurant because his clothing, which included a pair of $250 pants, didn’t meet the eatery’s dress code. The man said a security guard told him his pants were "too street."

A discrimination complaint was filed against the company related to the allegations.

The investigation and recent allegations are the latest in a series of allegations for the popular pizza eateries.

Last month, Parlor Pizza's Chicago locations were shut down following reports that the local pizza chain's restaurants were raided by authorities.

The restaurants ultimately reopened, but declined to comment on the raids.

Chicago police said an investigation was being led by the Illinois Department of Revenue Criminal Investigation Unit, but declined to offer specifics on the case.

A spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Revenue said she could not comment on ongoing investigations but said the department investigates "potential violations of the Illinois Tax Act."

“In the event of potential violations of the Illinois Tax Act and related offenses, our Bureau of Criminal Investigations will investigate potential violations," Maura Kownacki told NBC 5 in a statement.

The popular pizza chain has three restaurants in Chicago, with locations in the West Loop, River North and Wicker Park.

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