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Thursday, July 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Bartender Has No Case for Red Robin Dismissal

(CN) - A bartender at a Red Robin restaurant was not slandered by co-workers who said she was giving away beers and selling drugs, the Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled.

Red Robin general manager Steve Rieger allegedly told service manager Jason Riddle that Diana Lancaster was "slipping beers to customers" while working as a bartender.

Lancaster said a co-worker who had her eye on the bartender position also told the managers that she was selling drugs at the restaurant.

These allegations led to her reassignment as a server, according a lawsuit against Red Robin, Riddle, Rieger and two other employees.

Lancaster said the co-workers' slander caused her to lose hours, wages, insurance and vacation pay.

After co-workers Matthew Natividad and Kayla Neitzel testified in depositions about Lancaster's alleged drug sales, she amended the complaint to add them as defendants.

The trial court ruled for the defendants on summary judgment, and the Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed.

"Clearly, Red Robin and its managers had a legitimate interest in determining whether appellant was giving away beer or selling drugs on the premises," Judge David Glover wrote for the court.

"Natividad's statement to another employee that he heard that appellant was dealing drugs at work is of no consequence, because appellant offered no evidence of any damage he had caused her. Accordingly, we affirm the grant of summary judgment to appellees," Glover added.

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