Panera Bread - Lawsuits


In 2003, a lawsuit was filed by a former employee who claimed he was fired after allegedly refusing to carry out discriminatory policies set forth by his superiors.

On January 25, 2008, a class action lawsuit was filed against Panera Bread alleging Panera failed to disclose material adverse facts about the company's financial well-being, business relationships, and prospects. Panera settled the lawsuit and agreed to pay $5.75 million to shareholders while admitting no wrongdoing.

In 2009 and 2011, class action lawsuits were filed by former workers alleging that the company violated the California Labor Code, failed to pay overtime, failed to provide meal and rest periods, failed to pay employees upon termination, and violated California’s Unfair Competition Law. Panera set aside $5 million for the payment of claims. Panera denied any wrongdoing.

In 2011, a former employee filed a racial discrimination lawsuit alleging that he was eventually fired after repeatedly having a black man work the cash register instead of putting him in a less visible location and having “pretty young girls” be the cashiers, as requested by supervisors. The plaintiff also said he was fired after requesting another month off after returning from three months of medical leave. Panera said it "does not discriminate based on national origin, race or sex," and that the plaintiff "was terminated because he had used all of his medical leave and was unable to return to work." The plaintiff worked in a store owned by franchisee Sam Covelli, who also owns the stores that were involved in the 2003 racial discrimination lawsuit. Covelli Enterprises is the single largest franchisee of Panera bread with nearly 200 stores in Northeast Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Florida.

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