I wanted to get the opinion of my clients on a case I just read about. It involves an employer being sued by an employee for what the employee feels are unfair and illegal working conditions. While the case is still in the preliminary stages, I was asked if another business should continue partnering with this particular corporation or drop them. Remember, these are some of the main facts sworn to under oath by the employee, the business has several locations with both male and female managers, the employee suing the employer is a white female general manager, that employee had to work under the supervision of the business owner’s son, and the business owner was aware of all of these instances and did nothing to correct the working conditions.
- The son of the business owner on a daily basis watched pornography on his computer in the office he shared with the employee/manager and in the back of the store in front of the rest of the staff.
- The son of the business owner said to the employee/manager they needed to fire the whole staff and replace them with Hooters girls.
- African-American staff are required to use the back entrance for all purposes, including picking up their checks and were prohibited from using the front entrance. White staff members were not required to use the back entrance.
- African-American staff are required to use the restroom in the back of the store, but white staff were allowed to use the restroom for customers.
- When the employee/manager hired an African-American employee to work in the front, the son of the business owner demanded that she be transferred to work in the back of the store.
- In front of a vendor for the store, the son of the business owner walked into the employee/manager’s office, slammed the door, and said “I wish I could put all those niggers [working in the back of the store] on a boat to Africa.”
- In front of others, the son of the business owner said to an employee “don’t you wish you could rub all the black off you and be like me?” When the employee said he was fine the way he was, the son said “You just look dirty, I bet you wish you could.”
- When a vendor visited the store and was telling the manager and son of the business owner that he hunts wildlife including trapping raccoons, the son of the business owner said “you also got a bunch of coons in [the back of the store] you can trap.”
- On several occasions, the son of the business owner told the employee “If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my mother, if it ever comes down to firing a guy or a girl, you let the girl go because they are a dime a dozen and you can always find a girl to come work for you but it’s hard to find good guys.”
- The female employee/general manager was not paid a salary equal to her male counterparts, and in fact a male general manager at another store was paid more, did less, and performed much more poorly than the female employee/manager.
- When asking the business’ accountant for a raise, he told her “[The son] would have a heart attack if he knew you were being paid this much.”
- The same accountant said to other people in the presence of the female employee/manager “women are stupid because they think they can work and have babies and get everything done.”
- The female employee/general manager had received a few performance bonuses, but was told that since the accountant in charge of benefits was morally opposed to divorce that she would not receive any more bonuses since she got divorced.
These really are just some of the instances mentioned in the lawsuit against the employer. While there are many more, they are all basically along the same lines alleging racism, sexism, and unfair working conditions. The main question is whether or not another outside business should continue to partner with the business owner and the stores or should they drop them. Please let us know what you think.