Employee Sues Clothing Retailer For Racial Discrimination

A former employee of a clothing chain is suing the company for racial discrimination, alleging that she was fired from her job for being African American.

According to the complaint, the employee overheard the executive vice president of the company telling her district manager that the employee "wasn't the right fit for the store" and that it would be preferable to hire someone "with blond hair and blue eyes." The employee says she was fired from her position soon after that conversation.

Allegedly, this is not an isolated incident for this clothing chain: Two other African-American employees are filing similar employment discrimination claims, claiming they were fired because they did not match the store's "brand image."

Attorneys for these former employees seek to make the case a class action lawsuit.

Racial discrimination in the workplace

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are not allowed to discriminate against their workers on the basis of race, color or national origin. The law prohibits the following activities:

  • Harassment. Workers who are subjected to racial slurs, jokes and other derogatory and offensive comments can make the claim that the work environment is hostile and intimidating for people of their race. In addition, the law prohibits any physical abuse directed toward an employee because of their race.
  • Hiring practices. Employers are not allowed to vary their hiring practices based on the race of the potential employees. For example, employers are not allowed to administer tests for knowledge, skills or abilities to members of one race and not others, nor may they administer tests designed to exclude members of a certain race. In addition, employers are prohibited from using race as a criterion for advancing employees to higher positions in the company.
  • Retaliation. If an employee files a discrimination complaint against the company, the business is not allowed to fire that employee, or engage in any discriminatory behaviors, in order to retaliate against that employee for speaking out.

Employers are also barred from discriminating against their workers on the basis of gender or religious practices.

Legal help for victims of discrimination

If you have experienced discrimination in the workplace due to your race or national origin, you do not have to let your employer get away with mistreating you. Contact an experienced employment law attorney to discuss your situation and find out what your options are. You may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer to hold him or her accountable and get damages for what you have been through.