Ex-employee: Dearborn's Sky Lounge discriminated against blacks, Indians

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A Dearborn restaurant is accused of targeting certain minorities.

A former waitress is calling the business blatantly racist and she claims she's got proof: a list of rules from the restaurant and an audio recording.

At first glance, they appear to be your typical rules. Like No. 34: "No standing or eating in the servers' section." But policy No. 30 from Sky Lounge in Dearborn: "Gratuities are allowed on parties of four and above (SIA)" had new server Dana Alserjani curious.

The 22-year-old Detroiter had gotten a job at the restaurant and hookah lounge in early April.

 "From the very beginning the language was very clearly, blatantly racist," said Alserjani.

Alserjani said she soon heard more and more derogatory comments from management and co-workers targeting specific groups of people.

"I was really excited because a student of mine had come in," she said. "He was a phenomenal kid, top of his class."

But then she said she heard her manager's response.
"'He's black and a black kid isn't going to amount to more than a drug dealer,'" she recalls him saying.

Furious, Alserjani then secretly recorded a different manager asking him what the policy meant: "Gratuities are allowed on parties of four and above (SIA)."

On the recording: "What does that mean?" she asked.

"SIA?" the manager responded. "Saudis, Indians and (abids)."

 "Black people?" Alserjani asked.

"Yeah," he said.

"Ok," she said. "Who came up with that?"

"The (expletive) racist mother (expletives) here," the manager said. "So if they are Saudi Arabian, Indian or blacks we can (unintelligible) automatically."

She said after that exchange she was unable to spend another minute working there.

"A server at the very end of my shift said, 'I don't know why we don't just put up a sign that said blacks and Indians aren't welcome,'" she said.

Alserjani wrote a letter to the owner ending it with "black lives do not come with a price tag," and "do better."

In response to Alserjani's posts on social media, the owner of Sky Lounge, Ayman Taleb, called the actions of the employees "unacceptable, inexcusable, and shameful."

The owner added on the restaurant's Facebook page that "Sky Lounge does not tolerate any discrimination, stereotype or racism," stating that any employees making comments like that would be fired.

FOX 2: "What did you think of the response from the restaurant?" 

"I was disappointed,” Alserjani said. "The owner himself needs to take responsibility rather than firing employees who aren't solely responsible for the culture."

Meanwhile FOX 2 attempted to reach the owner but did not receive a response. Alserjani is asking folks to boycott the business, but that's not all:

"Recognize the racism that exists deep within us as individuals," she said. "Within our close families, within our close circles and then within our community. Now that we have looked deep, how do we take the proper steps to dismantle this issue."