WASHINGTON (CNN) -
CBRL Group Inc. said its Cracker Barrel unit entered an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to take steps to end alleged racial discrimination at its restaurants.
Shares of CBRL Group (CBRL: up $0.20 to $37.75, Research, Estimates) rose as much as 1 percent in early trading Monday.
Justice Department officials said white servers refused to wait on African-American customers in 30 restaurants and employees segregated African-American and white customers. It is also alleged that whites got seated first, and managers condoned the action.
Assistant Attorney General Alex Acosta, the government's top civil rights official, announced a consent decree in which Cracker Barrel has agreed to a series of steps to combat racial discrimination. Among the steps the chain has agreed to include a five-year comprehensive system to address discrimination, more training of managers and the hiring of an independent auditor.
The agreement was filed in U.S. District Court, he said.
Earlier Monday morning, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc., headquartered in Lebanon, Tenn., issued a statement strongly denying any wrongdoing and saying no payment is involved in the deal.
"The agreement ... details plans that build upon existing Cracker Barrel initiatives designed to strengthen the company's ability to prevent, detect and, when necessary, effectively address any perceived racial discrimination," the company said.
"We do not tolerate any form of discrimination," said Donald Turner, president and chief operating officer of Cracker Barrel.
Cracker Barrel operates 497 restaurant/store combinations in 41 states.