GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A discrimination lawsuit was filed just hours before Founders Brewing Company broke the news that it is closing its Detroit taproom for good.

The sudden closure was announced on Founders’ social media on Monday.

“Unfortunately, our Detroit location has not been immune to the struggle to regain foot traffic after temporary Covid closures that have impacted restaurants and bars across the nation,” the company wrote.

The closure was made public Monday, just hours after a lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court, alleging racial discrimination against a former employee.

In the lawsuit, a Black woman who worked at the Detroit Taproom from June 2021 until April of this year said she was subjected to “egregious racial harassment” while working for Founders.

The employee said she was promoted to “part-time” manager in 2021. While in that role, she said she was treated differently than white managers, including being overlooked for additional tasks and focus areas. She added that she was the only manager required to work serving shifts and was not compensated as a manager while doing so.

In addition to concerns over managerial duties, the lawsuit states the employee was told to make sure her 6-year-old daughter doesn’t “steal any money” and she “doesn’t struggle enough to be Black”.

She also said her name was intentionally mispronounced and when she complained, her hours were reduced.

The lawsuit states that “in light of the objectively racially hostile and hopeless work environment,” the employee resigned and her last day was April 23.

This is the second time Founders has been sued for racial discrimination. In 2019, the Detroit taproom temporarily closed after another Black employee said he was disciplined more harshly than white co-workers and racial slurs were used towards him.

The company settled that lawsuit.

In response to the latest lawsuit, Founders sent a statement to News 8:

“We are deeply saddened and concerned to learn of the recent accusations that have been brought against the Detroit Taproom. We take these claims very seriously, and we are conducting a thorough internal investigation.

Since 2019, we have instituted mandatory bias, discrimination and harassment training throughout our organization. We have reexamined our policies and enacted new policies, along with implementing new procedures for the reporting of workplace concerns.

Closing a business is a difficult decision, and this decision was made after a several year evaluation of the Detroit Taproom’s financial performance that began prior to COVID and was made worse by the pandemic. During the closure of our Detroit facility on Monday, we were unaware of the filing. We announced the closing to all of our Detroit staff on Monday morning, and did not learn about the lawsuit filed against Founders until that evening when a reporter contacted us. As with any closure, there was a lot of work that needed to be done to prepare for the loss of this extension, including redistribution of internal assets, conversations with our landlord and pulling together a comprehensive severance plan, all of which take time.

As to the pending lawsuit, we are sorry that this individual did not have a good experience with us, and to the extent it was due to our actions or inactions that contributed to that, we are deeply sorry.”

Founders Brewing Company

We have also reached out to the attorney that is representing the plaintiff.