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Former Cheesecake Factory Worker Sues After Alleged Discrimination of Latino Workers

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Former Cheesecake Factory Worker Sues After Alleged Discrimination of Latino Workers

A former longtime Cheesecake Factory server is suing the Calabasas-based restaurant chain, alleging she was fired in April for complaining that a manager made disparaging comments about Latino kitchen workers that wove in remarks about President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Andrea Nichole Duenas, who is herself a Latina, maintains in her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that she protested when she heard the white kitchen manager at the Thousand Oaks location tell Latino line cooks, “Give me fries stacked high and tall like the wall Trump is going to build.”

Duenas also believes that Latino cooks “appeared to be working off-the-clock more than … Caucasian employees,” according to her complaint, which alleges retaliation and wrongful discharge.

A Cheesecake Factory representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit, which was filed Monday and seeks unspecified damages.

Duenas says she was hired by the Cheesecake Factory in April 2008 and worked as a server and trainer.

She first heard disparaging remarks directed toward her Latino colleagues last September or October, the suit alleges.

Duenas met with the restaurant chain’s area director and told him she believed the alleged mistreatment of Latino kitchen employees was racially motivated and that it could “soon have a domino effect on other servers and Hispanic employees,” and he promised to look into the matter and make changes, according to her court papers.

However, the kitchen manager continued to make inappropriate remarks to Latino employees, the suit alleges. When Duenas asked the manager what she meant when she told her workers to “Give me some fries, Trump style,” the manager responded, “You know, fries stacked high and tall like the wall Trump is going to build,” the suit alleges.

After Duenas told the manager the remark was offensive, the manager replied, “Oh, I guess I’m sorry,” according to the suit.

Duenas complained to two other managers, but both were friends of the kitchen manager and they laughed at the plaintiff, the suit says.

The kitchen manager was eventually transferred to the Cheesecake Factory’s Sherman Oaks restaurant, but received no discipline, according to the complaint.

Meanwhile, Duenas’ work hours were reduced and she was suspended indefinitely in March after being told she made an erroneous use of a promotional coupon for a free slice of cheesecake, the suit says.

Other employees who made the same error were given written warnings, but were not suspended, according to the plaintiff.

Duenas says she received a copy of her personnel file from the Cheesecake Factory in April and the contents stated she was fired that month for the mistake with the promotional coupon. She says she received her final check in May.

Duenas says she wrote a lengthy letter to the restaurant’s human resources department in April, explaining her concerns and her actions regarding the promotional coupon. A copy of the correspondence was attached to the suit, in which she wrote: “I value my job, being that this is my sole income for my son and I. I will not have my reputation tarnished over a couple slices of cheesecake.”

Since her firing, Duenas has suffered financial losses as well as emotional distress, the suit states.

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

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A Case of Hantavirus Has Been Reported in China. Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry.

A man who died in China Monday reportedly tested positive for a hantavirus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should worry another pandemic is coming…

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A Case of Hantavirus Has Been Reported in China. Here's Why You Shouldn't Worry.

A man who died in China Monday reportedly tested positive for a hantavirus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should worry another pandemic is coming.

Hantaviruses are a family of virus that spread through rodents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Yunnan Province, a man died on his way back to Shandong Province, according to Global Times, an English-language Chinese news outlet.

“He was tested positive for #hantavirus. Other 32 people on bus were tested,” the news outlet tweeted.

The tweet, sent amid a pandemic caused by a new coronavirus, has been shared more than 15,000 times.

Though countries across the globe are on high alert due to uncertainty around the coronavirus, there is no indication that the hantavirus poses a global public health threat.

According to the CDC, hantavirus cases are rare, and they spread as a result of close contact with rodent urine, droppings or saliva.

Certain kinds of rats and mice in the United States can carry the virus, which is transmitted when someone breathes in contaminated air.

“The hantaviruses that cause human illness in the United States cannot be transmitted from one person to another,” the CDC says on its website. Rare cases in Chile and Argentina have seen person-to-person transmission when a person is in close contact with someone sickened by a type of hantavirus called Andes virus, the CDC says.

In the U.S., the virus can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, a severe respiratory disease that can be fatal. Symptoms include fatigue, fever, muscle aches, headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems. Coughing and shortness of breath can occur later in the disease as the lungs fill with liquid, the CDC says,

Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, found mostly in Europe and Asia, can also occur, which causes pain, fever, chills, nausea, and blurred vision, the CDC says. More serious symptoms include acute kidney failure.

Cases in the United States have typically been concentrated in the western and southwestern states.

From 1993 to 2017, there were only 728 confirmed hantavirus cases in the United States, with most being non-fatal, according to CDC data. In comparison, since late January, when the first known coronavirus case was identified in the U.S., there have been 46,805 confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

In May 1993, a hantavirus outbreak occurred in an area between Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. A 2012 outbreak in Yosemite sickened 10 people. In seven states, 17 people were infected in a 2017 outbreak.

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Amber Guyger Guilty of Murdering Black Neighbor Botham Jean in His Own Home

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Amber Guyger Guilty of Murdering Black Neighbor Botham Jean in His Own Home

A former police officer who argued she had a right to use lethal force when she killed an innocent man after mistakenly entering his apartment has been convicted of murder.

Amber Guyger faces a lengthy prison sentence after a jury found her guilty of the murder of Botham Jean in Dallas on 6 September last year – a verdict Jean family attorneys hailed as a significant moment in the battle to hold police accountable.

Guyger is white. Jean was black.

Standing in a packed hallway outside the courtroom in Dallas, attorney Lee Merritt told reporters the ruling was “a huge victory not only for the family of Botham Jean, but as his mother, Allison, told us a moment ago, this is a victory for black people in America”.

He said: “It is a signal that the tide is going to change here, [that] police officers are going to be held accountable for their actions.”

Merritt said the community should not have had to wait “on pins and needles” for the conviction of someone who killed a man who was “completely non-aggressive, sitting at home eating a bowl of ice cream and someone barged into his home and shot him to death.”

Botham Jean’s mother Allison Jean in court after the verdict was read out. Photograph: Tom Fox/AP

He added: “This should have been automatic, anticipated, expected, but it is extremely rare. From this day forward we are pushing so that it’s not rare.”

The jury began deliberating on Monday afternoon and reached a verdict on Tuesday morning, with sentencing to follow. Guyger pleaded not guilty. In Texas, murder usually carries a sentence of five to 99 years in prison but judge Tammy Kemp had allowed the jury to consider convicting the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Jurors, however, decided that Guyger had committed murder.

Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Jean family, told NBC local news, said: “Thank God, finally America saw the humanity of an unarmed black man who was killed in an unjustifiable way and they returned a verdict that is befitting the criminal, cowardly act of this woman, killing Botham Jean in his own apartment.”

Crump added in a press conference: “This is a precedent now that will go forth across America for equal justice for everybody.”

He said the incident underscores the need for better police training and that the verdict was for “so many unarmed black and brown human beings all across America” who died in interactions with police.

Amber Guyger Guilty of Murdering Black Neighbor Botham Jean in His Own Home

Jean, a 26-year-old accountant, had settled down on his couch to watch television and eat some vanilla ice cream when Guyger entered his home. She claimed she mistakenly believed it was hers and thought he was an intruder.

Kemp controversially allowed the jury to consider whether Guyger’s conduct could be justified under Texas’s so-called “castle doctrine”. Expanded in 2007, it is comparable to “stand your ground” laws in other states and allows a civilian to use deadly force if he or she “reasonably believes … [it] is immediately necessary” in certain circumstances, such as during a burglary.

Though Jean was on his own property and Guyger the intruder, seemingly inverting the intent of the law, her attorneys argued she made a “mistake of fact” when she went to the wrong home, making her subsequent conduct reasonable. They said she was tired after a long day and many other residents had found themselves at the wrong unit in the past because signage was unclear and floors looked similar.

“She made a series of horrible mistakes,” Toby Shook, one of her attorneys, said. “The law recognises that mistakes can be made.”

Prosecutors said it was “absurd” to believe the 31-year-old’s “commando-style” behaviour was reasonable, especially given her training as a police officer and status as a more than four-year veteran of the department.

They noted that Guyger failed to retreat and call for back-up, questioned the veracity of her claim to have given Jean verbal commands before firing, and pointed out that after calling 911 she appeared to provide only limited medical assistance as Jean, who was from St Lucia, lay dying from a chest wound.

Rather than feeling tired, prosecutors alleged, she was distracted because she had been “sexting” a colleague. Jean had a bright red mat in front of his door that ought to have been impossible to miss.

Guyger – who was fired by Dallas police – wept while testifying.

“I was scared this person inside my apartment was going to kill me,” she said. “I ask God for forgiveness and I hate myself every single day. I feel like a piece of crap.”

In closing statements, Jason Fine, a prosecutor, called most of her testimony “garbage”. Fine said Jean did not act in a threatening manner, but started to stand up “like a normal reasonable person who has somebody busting into his home, and before he can even get up he is shot dead in his own home.

“Killing this man was unnecessary and unreasonable from start to finish.”

Special security measures were put in place during the trial. Jean’s death sparked protests and demands for justice from activists who cited it as one of a long line of racially charged shootings by a police department that lacks accountability. Though she was off duty, Guyger was still in uniform and used her service weapon when she encountered Jean.

Critics of the department have also claimed Guyger was given preferential treatment. It emerged during the trial that the head of the Dallas Police Association told another officer to shut off an audio-visual recording system inside a patrol car so that he could have a private conversation with Guyger soon after the shooting.

She still faces a civil lawsuit brought by Jean’s family.

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Man Dies After Contracting Vibrio from Eating Oysters at North Carolina Coast

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Man Dies After Contracting Vibrio from Eating Oysters at North Carolina Coast

A man is dead after contracting a harmful bacteria from eating oysters on the North Carolina coast, according to family friends.

They say David Argay contracted vibrio in Wilmington, but died Thursday at the hospital.

Argay is from Cary, North Carolina.

Vibrio is a bacteria that lives in saltwater. There are 200 recognized species of marine vibrios but only a few can cause significant problems.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, vibrio infections are associated with eating raw or under-cooked shellfish such as oysters, clams, shrimp and scallops.

The health department did not release details about when exactly Argay ate the oysters or which restaurant served them to him.

Health officials said these types of infections can be prevented by thoroughly cooking seafood or shellfish especially oysters and not exposing open wounds to seawater.

Most infections occur from May through October when water temperatures are warmer.

The CDC reports vibrio causes an estimated 80,000 illnesses and 100 deaths a year in the United States.

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