A homeless man is suing Burger King for almost $1 million after being jailed for 3 months following false accusations of paying with a counterfeit $10 bill.
In November 2015, Emory Ellis tried to buy breakfast at a Boston Burger King with a $US10 bill, Law360 reported. Employees believed the bill to be fake, and Ellis was arrested and charged with forgery of a bank note.
The arrest triggered a probation violation, according to Ellis’ lawsuit, and he was held in jail without bail for three months,the Associated Press reported. In February 2016, the Secret Service concluded that Ellis’ $US10 bill was actually real, leading prosecutors to drop the forgery charge.
Ellis, 37, never got his money back, the lawsuit says.
In a suit filed earlier this week, Ellis sued Burger King and the franchisee who owns this particular location, saying he was discriminated against based on his appearance as a black homeless person.
“A person like me would have gotten an apology, but a person like Emory somehow finds his way in handcuffs for trying to pay for his breakfast with real money,” Ellis’ attorney Justin Drechsler, who is white, told the Associated Press.
“While we cannot comment on the specifics of any ongoing legal matters, we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” Burger King said in a statement to Business Insider. “The franchisee, who independently owns and operates this location, is responsible for handling all legal matters regarding this location and ensuring proper employee training is in place.”
The AP reported that the franchisee, Two Guys Foods, did not respond to a request for comment.
The suit comes at a time when chains’ treatment of customers – especially black customers – is in the spotlight. Since footage of two black men being arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks went viral in April, many other stories have emerged of similarly unfair treatment by other companies.