After decades of thinking, “this is just the way things are” the defeat of Ellen Pao ignited a new sensitivity to possible gender discrimination, especially in Silicon Valley. Continue reading “A Wildfire in Silicon Valley Ignited”
John Padgett, head of the Georgia Republican Party, is facing allegations that he engaged in racial discrimination against an employee of one of his privately owned firms. Vanessa Dewberry, a former manager of Southeast Ambulance Inc., run by Padgett’s firm, filed a federal lawsuit against the politician in Atlanta.
Dewberry had a meeting last February with Padgett, who referred to an African American employee as a “black tech that’s supposed to know better.” Dewberry took offense to that statement, and described Padgett’s tone as demeaning.
Padgett is also accused of gender discrimination. He participated in the ridiculing and teasing of a staff member whose gender was questioned. Padgett allegedly referred to the employee as “the one who looks like a boy.” Another employee also called the fellow worker, “it.” This also is captured on the recording from Dewberry. Dewberry claims she immediately voiced her discomfort about the comments and complained to Padgett openly about the inappropriateness of his words.
Not too long after, Dewberry was terminated from her position for “financial reasons.” Dewberry made it clear she was going to take action against Padgett, to which he responded that he had powerful friends.
Dewberry’s complaint names Padgett directly as well as the ambulance company she had been employed with during the racial incidents.
A Los Angeles based franchisee of Taco Bell is facing a chalupa-sized lawsuit from a former employee. Raymond Brantley, an African-American, is suing Cotti Foods Corp., the franchise owner, for racial discrimination.
Brantley alleges that assistant manager, Juan Mondragon, repeatedly used racially offensive slurs in the restaurant that Brantley was employed. Mondragon would often type offensive comments into the restaurant’s order system in lieu of orders or Brantley’s name. The comments could be seen by other employees on a screen where workers normally viewed and printed copies of the orders.
On many occasions, Brantley attempted to resolve the issues, asking Mondragon to stop. Brantley was not the only employee to be subject to racial discrimination. A string of African-American employees working for the franchise were terminated or transferred out of the location. Ultimately, Brantley transferred as well, but was terminated not too long after arriving at the new facility.
Source: Daily Journal
Carol Miaskoff of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”) recently spoke on a panel at a Federal Trade Commission Workshop regarding the use of social media to screen employment candidates.
Miaskoff warned employers to be cognizant of using social media because the company can uncover a variety of information that alludes to the applicants’ protected statuses (i.e. race, gender, or disability). In some cases, the decision not to hire someone based on their social media account can be interpreted as a violation of labor law, especially if a company decides not to hire someone once discovering their sexual orientation or that the prospective employee is pregnant, as an example.
Employers must not use prospective workers’ social media sporadically, but instead, should utilize it consistently with all applicants. Again, the employer may be at fault for using social media discriminatorily, but some may argue that employers can use social media for good cause.
Source: National Law Review
Image Source: Geekfairy.co.uk
In a piece entitled, “Twenty Days of Harassment and Racism as an American Apparel Employee,” an author who only identifies herself as “Jane Doe” divulged about her experience working for the ethically clean company. Though the company embraces fair wages for its garment workers and abhors sweatshops, positive company culture has yet to permeate the retail sphere.
Upon interviewing for the position, the store manager emphasized how important the brand’s “images” was and asked question about Jane Doe’s modeling career. It seemed innocent enough. But when Jane began working for the company, her manager was quick to promote racial profiling, instructing Jane to “look out for the black girls, because they’re always the ones shoplifting.”
Throughout her time at American apparel, Jane was harassed by her manager and customers alike. Her manager would comment on how stupid the sexual harassment case was against the company’s CEO. Jane would hear the manager say, “it’s not like he raped them” and “it seems like they were into it, too.”
There was only one African American employee at that store, and she worked exclusively in the back stock room. Jane’s co-worker confirmed that the manager “never hires black girls” because they wanted to attract “the right kind of customer.”
On several occasions, Jane and her co-workers were sexually harassed by a man who asked female employees to try on see through or mesh clothing for him so he could determine if the clothes would look good on his wife. The manager essentially dismissed the employees’ concerns, saying it was alright for the customer to do that so long as they work something underneath. The female workers felt obligated to oblige and thought it was an unspoken part of their jobs. Finally another employee called the police when the same man kept returning. All the manager had to say was, “Well it seems like he’s gone now.”
After 20 days, Jane quit the company citing the hyper sexualized the work place and extreme unprofessionalism. Jane’s complaints aren’t the only criticisms of the company’s sexualized nature. Currently, many American Apparel advertisements in Great Britain have been banned for depicting overly sexualized, young school girls in their back to school ad campaign.
If these stories sound familiar, please do not hesitate to contact an attorney who may be able to help. Read Jane’s entire story on Gawker.com