NEW YORK (Yonhap) ― An elderly ethnic Korean in New York has filed a multi-million-dollar suit against McDonald’s for an alleged racist attack by one of its workers, his lawyer said Sunday.
The 62-year-old man residing in the U.S. city surnamed Kim sued the head and New York branch offices of McDonald’s and several officials seeking $10 million in compensation after he allegedly experienced verbal and physical attacks by a McDonald’s manager in Flushing, Queens, according to the law firm Kim & Bae.
In the afternoon on Feb. 16, the female manager Lucy, identified only by her first name, hit Kim with a broom after he complained to another clerk that he had waited for about 10 minutes to buy a cup of coffee.
Upon listening to Kim’s complaint, the manager allegedly shouted at him to get out of the restaurant, saying no coffee is available for “people like you.”
When Kim then tried to record what was happening with his cellphone, the manager hit him with the broom, hurting his left hand and breaking his phone, according to his lawyer.
The manager Lucy was detained by police later in the day and was indicted on assault charges.
“Kim was not able to work for a while due to the injuries, and he has been suffering from severe mental pain caused by the ill treatment and the subsequent humiliation,” his lawyer Bae Moon-kyung said.
“It constitutes a racially motivated hate crime, as Kim was the only Asian there at that time,” he said, stressing that strong legal actions are “to prevent a recurrence of such a case against ethnic minorities.”
Kim, who moved to the U.S. some 30 years ago, holds U.S. citizenship.
The lawsuit drew attention as it follows an incident in which McDonald’s workers in Queens clashed with a group of Korean senior citizens over the restaurant’s 20-minute seating policy. The long-standing conflict flared up in January as the employees called the police to remove Korean seniors who spent hours sipping coffee at the restaurant.
After heated debate and controversy, the two sides reached an agreement. The management vowed to ease the limit during off-peak hours, and the seniors in turn promised to give up their seats during busy hours.