NJ restaurant eliminates dress code, adds ‘inclusion policy’ following backlash over racist ‘code’ claims

A New Jersey restaurant has changed its policies after a woman who attended a hiring event accused the establishment of using a racist “code” during the job interview.

Surf City bar and restaurant in Jersey City shared a statement on its various social media accounts announcing that it would be eliminating its dress code, as well as implementing a “Diversity and Inclusion Policy” and “conduct additional diversity and unconscious bias training.”

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The news comes after the restaurant was accused of racist practices by a woman who was applying for a job.

Maya Murphy shared details of the alleged incident to Facebook, claiming she went to the restaurant as part of an open-call hiring event, having found herself out of a job because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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During the interview, she alleges the person who screened her used a racist “code” to explain the restaurant’s dress code and alcohol policy.

“The owner asked me about my resume, particularly my time at a local restaurant that closed last year,” Murphy wrote in the post. “She then said the interviewer responded by saying, ‘The demographic shift that happened at [the restaurant], we can’t have that here. We have a dress code, we enforce it. We don’t serve certain liquors here. Do you get it?'”

“I nodded,” Murphy wrote. “Sadly, I’ve worked at restaurants with racist dress codes and auto-gratuities before. He continued[,] ‘I’m speaking in code, do you understand?’”

The waterfront Jersey City restaurant has updated its policies after being called out for racism.

The waterfront Jersey City restaurant has updated its policies after being called out for racism. (iStock)

According to Murphy, who explained further in a later Facebook comment, the interviewer was referring to dress codes that are disguised as an “excuse to not allow in black patrons,” and ban such clothing items as durags, “work boots” and “sports jerseys,” among other apparel. She also said she was “entirely sure [the man] meant Hennessey” when referring to “certain liquors.”

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“Racism in the restaurant industry is not new, but in this week of all the f—ing weeks a restaurateur saw me and assumed it was safe to share his racist garbage with me,” Murphy concluded in the post.

Surf City manager John Argento confirmed the dress code in a previous interview with Fox News, but claimed it applied to everyone.

“We serve the community. We have groups of every race, creed and color here,” he said. “We have great food and drink and people want to come and sit on the beach or at the fire pits and look out at the water.”

However, the backlash, which Argento said was minimal at the time, continued to build against the establishment on social media. Many customers responded to the company’s recent policy update calling it “too little too late.”

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Several people on the restaurant’s Yelp page left comments further accusing the business of “racist behavior.”

Fox News has contacted Surf City for further comment.

Alexandra Deabler is a Lifestyle writer and editor for Fox News.