A Portland bakery won $7 million Monday in a lawsuit alleging it was targeted by a homophobic slur and discriminated against for selling cookies made with soy milk.
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Jewish Committee on Civil Rights, claiming the plaintiff’s business, the Schmidts Bakery, was targeted in a discriminatory practice called “homestyle” bakery.
The bakery, which opened in January, is owned by the Schmaltz family, which runs a chain of gluten-free grocery stores.
It has denied the allegations, and said it was unaware of the slur.
“We have no knowledge of any of these slurs that have been made,” Schmoltz said.
“This is the first time I can recall this happening in the history of this bakery.”
In court papers, the ACLU and the AJC argued that the plaintiff was subjected to discriminatory employment practices, including racial and ethnic slurs, and that the plaintiffs’ business, which is run by Jewish Americans, was also targeted because of its religious affiliation.
The plaintiffs are seeking $15 million in compensatory damages, $8 million in punitive damages, and $5 million punitive and punitive damages.
The AJC said it has filed two class actions against the defendants in federal court in Portland, Maine, and Oregon.
The suit against the bakery in Portland has not yet been filed.
The ACLU’s attorney, David Hochberg, said in a statement that “the actions in this case demonstrate how businesses of any type can be subject to hateful speech or discriminatory practices.”
The bakery has been working with the ACLU to defend itself in court and said in an email that it is “committed to defending the rights of all our customers, employees and neighbors.”