A black customer said he felt discriminated against and filed a lawsuit against Hardee’s because they only served him two hash rounds as a side dish.
Tommy Martin, 58, of Mount Holly, North Carolina, went for breakfast at Hardee’s at Belmont, on May 30. He was served two hash rounds—whereas the website’s “small hash rounds” page features a photo with about a dozen pieces of those “crispy, poppable” rounds.
Martin claims he did not get the same number of hash rounds that customers—most of which were white at that time, and so was the manager, who refused to give him the proper number of hash rounds—would typically get, because Martin was black. “It’s not a money issue,” Martin said in an interview with the Charlotte Observer. “I just want to be treated fairly.”
Martin said he feels he has been discriminated against. He filed a federal lawsuit, obtained by the Jacksonville Daily News. He is suing Hardee’s and its owner, CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. of Franklin, Tennessee because, he said, his constitutional rights have been infringed upon; more specifically, the 14th Amendment, which deals with civil rights.
At first, the cashier offered to make up for the failure by providing Martin the proper amount of hash rounds; but at that moment, the manager stepped in and told Martin the number of hash rounds was “that what you get,” according to the lawsuit.
The manager did offer a refund, but by then it was too late: Martin wants to bring the case to trial and let a jury decide on whether Hardee’s violated his constitutional rights, or not. “I have got to do something,” Martin said.
Martin said he felt humiliated; that it was like being transported back to the sixties, the time of racial segregation. “No one in here [is] going to stand up for you,” he said of the event. He said he lost his appetite and started to experience fear of food (cibophobia), according to the lawsuit.
“Got home with tear in mine eye.” he wrote in the lawsuit, and “Eating in public is a no-no.”
Origins of the 14th Amendment
Slavery was abolished after the Civil War in 1865 by the 13th Amendment. However, it failed to prevent states from denying former slaves the privileges and protections of citizenship. A pro-slavery Supreme Court ruled that citizenship was racial in the Dred Scott decision, which held that people of African descent weren’t American citizens.
To overturn the Dred Scott decision, the 14th Amendment was ratified to address, specifically, former slaves and children of slaves who were born after the Civil War. The first section states:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The 14th Amendment was about the status of former slaves and the outrages they had been made to suffer.
Epoch Times reporter Darlene Cassela contributed to this article.