NewsCovering Kern County


Lawsuit alleges T.L. Maxwell's employee fired after complaints of vermin, illegal practices

Posted at 11:51 AM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-11 15:37:04-04

A former employee has filed a lawsuit against a downtown Bakersfield restaurant alleging she was fired for complaining about illegal practices.

The defendant, Cristal Del Toro, claims she was a server at T.L. Maxwell's from October 2017 to March 2018. Del Toro alleges she was fired for repeatedly complaining about alleged illegal practices including vermin in the kitchen and food shelves, serving rotten food with mold to customers, and roaches on the counters.

Del Toro also alleges there were undocumented immigrants working in the kitchen and that she was denied meal and rest breaks.

Del Toro alleges she was fired after months of complaining about the conditions. Upon termination, the lawsuit states Terry Maxwell, owner of T.L. Maxwell's, told her, "I think you belong in a corporate restaurant."

23ABC reached out to Maxwell and he declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Kern County Public Health inspected Maxwell's in March and April. 

On March 28, Maxwell's was given an 89% grade. 

Violations include:

- Eggs, dressings, butter, dessert dressings and butter swirls kept at 55-56 degrees Fahrenheit.

- Ambient temperature of standing refrigeration unit next to prep table at 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

- Old rodent droppings under racks and on stairs in basement

- One deceased rodent in basement away from food contact surfaces 


Less than two weeks later, the restaurant was given a 91% grade on the April 9 inspection.

Violations include:

- Dilapidated flooring and covering throughout kitchen and dilapidated ceiling in ware washing area

- Raw chicken stored with/above raw beef and raw beef stored with/above seafood in two reach in freezers in basement

- Old rodent droppings behind oven, one live roach in basement and one live roach in kitchen behind preparation table 


23ABC reached out to Kern County Public Health about the inspections at Maxwell's. Michelle Corson with Public Health said violations were found, but the violations did not warrant the restaurant being shut down.

In response to the 89% B grade in March, Maxwell's asked for a "rescore inspection," Corson said. A rescore inspection is a reevaluation of a facility requested by the owner which is conducted as a routine inspection, according to Public Health. A rescore inspection is limited to once per fiscal year, and is not a guarantee of receiving a higher grade.