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Thursday, February 7, 2013

EEOC finding of employment race discrimination in nationwide clothing retailer for young women


Some people think that the days of race discrimination in employment are over. This is not true as is evidenced in part by a finding by The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which found blatant race discrimination at a nationwide clothing  retailer that is geared for young women. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a statement that the nationwide retailer, Wet Seal, illegally discriminated against a former store manager who is African- American solely because of her race. One of Wet Seal’s  executives visited the King of Prussia, Pa. store and later complained in a memo about too many black employees at the manager’s store in Pennsylvania. 
The director of the EEOC’s Philadelphia office noted in a determination released in December 2012 that Wet Seal’s “corporate managers have openly stated they wanted employees who had the ‘Armani look, were white, had blue eyes, thin and blond in order to be profitable.’ ” 
The EEOC determination, which became  part of the First Amended Complaint filed in a class action lawsuit filed in The United States District Court for the Central District of California under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, states that it found that Wet Seal terminated the African-American former manager of its store in King of Prussia, Pa., the day after the retailer’s senior vice president for store operations had inspected that store and several others in the area and sent an e-mail saying, “African Americans dominate — huge issue.” 
As also reported in the New York Times, the African-American former manager stated that Wet Seal managers have openly stated they wanted employees who had 'the Armani look, were white, had blue-eyes, thin, and blond in order to be profitable.'"
According to the EEOC finding, Wet Seal alleged that the African-American manager had resigned voluntarily and that it therefore had taken no adverse employment action against her. But the federal agency  found that the senior vice president’s e-mail, which according to the manager she had seen, and Wet Seal’s subsequent sudden laying off of numerous African-Americans had forced her to quit.
The federal agency said that before the African-American former manager was forced out, she had received high ratings in running the King of Prussia store, which was ranked No. 8 among Wet Seal’s more than 500 stores. Her regional manager and district manager had said she had “great energy” and “strong ability” to hold other managers and subordinates accountable in fulfilling their responsibilities. 
According to the EEOC finding, the African-American former manager did not voluntarily resign because the email sent by the senior vice-president after he visited th store and Wet Seal’s subsequent sudden laying off of numerous African-Americans at several stores in Pennsylvania had created a work atmosphere that was so hostile, she had no choice but to leave. The agency called this tantamount to a discharge. 


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