All Articles Tagged "racial discrimination"
After six years of legal red tape, Jabari S. Jumaane’s fight for justice in a racial discrimination case against the Los Angeles Fire Department ended victoriously. The African-American ex-firefighter has been awarded $1.1 million by a civil court, LA Times reports.
In 2007, he initially lost the racial bias suit. Jumaane alleged that during his three-decade career at the LAFD, where he served as a fire inspector, he experienced a pattern of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. “He was subjected to racial slurs and jokes and that his supervisors falsified his performance evaluations, leading to suspensions and reprimands,” CBS News reports.
At the time, the jury rejected these claims and ruled in favor of the defendants who argued that Jumaane’s disciplinary record was justified and that his allegations of racial bias were false. Jumaane then decided take the case to an appeals court and the 2007 verdict was overturned. The civil court discovered that the jury from the original case engaged in unethical behavior.
“According to a 2012 report by the city’s office of the independent assessor on Fire Department litigation, [...] a juror ‘claimed to have witnessed racially motivated misconduct by fellow jurors,’” the LA Times added. The re-trial — which took 16 days of deliberations — granted Jumaane $1.1 million, finally concluding the racial bias suit.
“It’s more than just a sense of gratitude, it’s a sense of vindication,” Jumaane’s attorney, Nana Gyamfi said. “As he said during the trial when he was questioned by the defense, all he was looking for was for some reasonable people to take a look at his situation and recognize the injustice within it. And that’s what happened.”
The LAFD is no stranger to being accused of racial discrimination. Tennie Pierce, a firefighter for the organization, was awarded a $1.5 million settlement after being the butt of a cruel joke: his co-workers put dog feces on his spaghetti during lunchtime at the firehouse.
“We are grateful to the jury for this historic verdict, which clearly indicts the department and the city for its systemic discrimination and retaliation against black fire members, which it has condoned and perpetuated for decades,” Gyamfi said.
Most black folk can tell you about their most memorable shopping experience -and I’m not talking about that fly pair of boots they purchased or how much they paid for it – but how they were treated from the moment they set foot inside the store. We are watched with hawk-like eyes by store clerks, yet ignored as if we don’t even exist when looking for assistance. Our money isn’t the same, even if we have plenty of it.
Look at what just happened with Trayon Christion at Barneys New York. He purchased a $350 Salvatore Ferrago belt with his hard-earned money, but was arrested by undercover cops. He was told black people don’t have that kind of money and that he was part of some sort of credit card scam — even after he produced the receipt for the merchandise and his ID.
Unfortunately, this is nothing new under the sun and celebs’ superstar status doesn’t make them immune to racial discrimination. Here’s a look at celebs who’ve been racially profiled while shopping, as well as those who were stopped just for being black period.
After being pulled over for making an illegal left turn, Perry says police officers roughed him up. He says he only made that turn because he was being followed. Perry complained about his experience on his Facebook page. Thank goodness he wasn’t his gun wielding, alter ego Madea, because that situation would have gone from bad to worse real quick.
Queen Latifah Responds To Barneys Racial Discrimination Allegations: ‘I’d Hate To Have To Boycott Them’
If you’ve been wondering how other celebs are feeling about the racial discrimination allegations being brought against Barneys, the feelings appear to be mixed. While Kevin Hart and his girlfriend, Eniko, were recently spotted splurging at Barneys Beverly Hills, it looks like Queen Latifah is prepared to boycott if need be. During a recent interview with Necole Bitchie, the daytime talk show host addressed the controversy.
“We’ve been going through this for a long time. We know that this is something that has been continuous in our community for us when we go into various stores. I would hope that that’s not the case with Barneys. That some people got overzealous and did the wrong thing and that it’s not the whole corporation because I like Barneys and I’d hate to have to boycott them! That would be terrible,” she said.
“I’m hoping that this whole situation gets solved and it’s a lesson to everybody else and these other stores to be cognizant of your shopper. Just because you have on a baseball cap doesn’t mean you don’t have money. We don’t have to justify where we got the money to buy an expensive belt,” she continued.
She went on to address Jay Z’s involvement with the company, expressing that she agrees with the way he’s handling things so far.
“I don’t know that it’s there. I think that Jay Z’s been pretty clear when it’s hit him close to home [and] when things just don’t sit right with him, but obviously things warrant further investigation.”
Watch Queen’s interview on the next page.
Barneys New York CEO Mark Lee has issued a public apology concerning two highly publicized racial profiling incidents that occurred at the company’s flagship store.
“Barneys New York believes that no customer should have the unacceptable experience described in recent media reports, and we offer our sincere regret and deepest apologies,” Lee said in an issued statement.
In addition to the apology, NBC News says that the luxury department store chain plans to hire Michael Yaki, who serves on the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights, to examine company policy for fairness and equality practices. Lee also insists that Barneys has been reaching out to the community to ”begin a dialogue on this important issue.”
It will be pretty interesting to see how the public responds to Lee’s efforts on behalf of Barneys, as petitions against the popular department store chain have already begun. Earlier today we told you that fans are urging hip hop mogul Jay Z to cut all business ties with the American retailer, as he announced that he would be partnering with the company for a limited edition holiday line. 25% of the proceeds will go to the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation. A portion of the petition reads:
“We can no longer tolerate blatant prejudice and discrimination. It is clear that the minority buying power is devalued by some. We must withdraw support to those who will not support us.”
“Jay Z is currently in partnership with Barneys New York for the release of his holiday collection — called “A New York Holiday” (or BNY SCC). Barneys lacks any connection with the black and hip-hop community. And without his vast wealth and brand power, they would see him the same as they see Trayon Christian. Jay Z should be appalled by Barneys actions, and withdraw all support from them. If he does this, he will send a clear message to all corporations that are likeminded, that this behavior cannot be tolerated any longer.”
Jay has yet to publicly respond to the scandal. While Lee’s apology and reexamination of company practices could potentially be a step in the right direction, I’m not sure if it will be enough to calm the masses, since the damage appears to be done.
What do you think? Is an apology enough?
Gender and race discrimination are very real challenges that Black women in the workforce have to overcome everyday. It’s also not uncommon that Black Hollywood actresses come forward and discuss their horrible encounters with race discrimination while working with producers and casting directors.
“It’s easy to pretend ‘to be fierce and fearless because living your truth takes real courage. Real fearless and fierce women admit mistakes and they work to correct them. We stand up and we use our voices for things other than self promotion. We don’t stand by and let racism and sexism and homophobia run rampant on our watch,” Gabrielle Union expressed during Essence’s 2012 Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon.
Now, in an upcoming episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter, comedienne and actress Wanda Sykes, who describes herself as a ‘trifecta of discrimination,’ will also be tackling the discussion, while opening up about her own personal experiences as a gay Black woman in Hollywood.
“So if you’re being discriminated against, how do you know if it’s because you’re a woman, because you’re Black or because you’re gay?” Oprah asks in a clip from the interview.
“Ah there’s the problem—you can’t figure it out,” Wanda replied. “What are you upset about? Which thing? It’s just confusing. There is [another dimension when you're Black and gay]. To go back to my family, I think it also was a big problem with them because with them it was, ‘What are people going to say?’ And when I say people, I mean the Black community,” Wanda responds.
It turns out that her interview is actually a part of Next Chapter episode that highlights being gay in America. The segment will also feature openly gay actors Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Dan Bucatinsky. The full episode debuts on OWN Sunday, October 267th at 10/9c.
Check out a clip from her interview below. Thoughts?
A U.S. Department of Labor judge ordered Bank of America (BoA), located in Charlotte, N.C., to cough up almost $2.2 milllion in fines for discriminating against more than 1,100 African-American job seekers.
A formal complaint against BoA’s discriminatory tactics was filed back in 1997 after the Labor Department found “systemic hiring discrimination affecting black job seekers in the Charlotte location,” in 1993. It took nearly 20 years years for the courts to come to a conclusion on the case.
“Our investigators and attorneys prevailed despite decades of stalling tactics,” said labor solicitor M. Patricia Smith in a press statement.
Judge Linda Chapman has ordered the Charlotte-based bank to pay $2,181,593 back in restitution for 1,147 black job applicants. ”The Department of Labor’s ruling awards $964,033 to 1,034 applicants who were rejected for jobs in 1993, and awards $1,217,560 to 113 applicants rejected between 2002 and 2005,” says USA Today.
Judge Chapman has also mandated that BoA extend suitable job positions to 10 former African-American applicants as the positions become available because of previous unfair and inconsistent criteria for choosing new hires. In the end, qualified candidates for jobs like tellers and entry-level clerical workers were turned away.
“We are currently reviewing this recommended decision and order,” said Christopher Feeney, a Bank of America spokesman. “At Bank of America, diversity and inclusion are part of our culture and core company values. We actively promote an environment where all employees have an opportunity to succeed.
This ruling comes nearly a month after Merrill Lynch’s $160 million settlement over hundreds of black brokers who claimed the bank was racially biased with their pay and promotions back in 2005. BoA acquired Merrill Lynch in 2009; the settlement was one of the largest payouts in employment discrimination cases.
Merrill Lynch, a unit of Bank of America, has reached an agreement that will settle a lawsuit filed in 2005 for $160 million. The settlement, which a Merrill Lynch spokesperson wouldn’t confirm, according to The New York Times, would be available to all black brokers working for the firm since May 2001. The payout “would be the largest sum ever distributed to plaintiffs in a racial discrimination suit against an American employer,” reports the paper.
When the suit was filed, only one in 75 brokers was black. And, according to the lead plaintiff George McReynolds, those brokers got little help from managers and weren’t included as members of the team. These brokers were considered “poor producers” and the atmosphere continued that perception. McReynolds, 68, still works for Merrill Lynch out of Nashville.
“We are working toward a very positive resolution of a lawsuit filed in 2005 and enhancing opportunities for African-American financial advisers,” said a Merrill Lynch spokesperson, Bill Halldin, yesterday. Merrill Lynch was purchased by Bank of America in 2009 for $33 billion.
Among the evidence presented during the case was a deposition from Merrill’s one-time CEO E. Stanley O’Neal, the organization’s first black chief executive. He acknowledged that it could be a tougher environment for black brokers. The reason he cited, summed up by the Times, was “most of the firm’s prospective clients were white and might not trust their wealth to brokers who were not.”
At one point, about 1,200 names were listed on the lawsuit. McReynolds says it was difficult to get colleagues to sign on to the lawsuit, an issue exacerbated by the fact that 25 US states didn’t have any black brokers in them. The company had 14,000 brokers working as of June 30. Bank of America, as a whole, has 257,158 workers. Merrill has, says the NY Times, been dominated by white men, with its brokerage team called the “Irish marines.”
The firm faced a discrimination suit in the 1970s that was supposed to lead to greater diversity but didn’t. In 1998, the company settled a sex discrimination lawsuit with 900 women.
This case was meant to go to court in January 2014, but Bank of America decided to settle. Separately but related, Merrill Lynch is the firm that intern Moritz Erhardt worked for before he collapsed and died after working three straight all-nighters. That happened in London, but it’s clear this company needs to do something about its corporate culture ASAP.
A study published by the Law & Society Review, essentially tells us what we all already know: Blacks and Hispanics are less likely than Caucasians to score interviews and job offers. Employers themselves have admitted that they’re reluctant to hire minorities. Tell us something we don’t know!
But there’s something new that this research presents to us: racial discrimination in the workplace is perceived among minorities differently depending on certain factors. Society has a devious way of indirectly imposing racial discrimination on minorities in the workplace. Modern discrimination is hidden in everyday social interactions which makes it harder to point out.
With the very subtle nature of racial discrimination, how can anyone effectively seek legal action? Employers can easily refute discrimination claims by stating that the worker’s performance and lack of experience contributed to differential treatment, masking any bias. Proof of racial discrimination to pursue a lawsuit is damn near impossible.
The report also delves into how one’s gender, personality, and income affect one’s perception of prejudice.
For instance, women alone in the workforce are paid less and are undervalued compared to men. Black women, being both a minority and female are at a double disadvantage. Because of this, black women are more vigilant of discrimination than black men. As a result, more African-American women are likely view negative treatment as a product of discrimination.
The authors infer that some workers might perceive a behavior to be discriminatory if they are entitled and believe they deserve certain treatment. If that standard of treatment isn’t met, they are more likely to cry discrimination. But is it really?
Also, those who are paid higher wages expect a more objective work environment; they are more likely to identify negative experiences as discriminatory. Adversely, those who work in undesirable jobs tend to label the negative experience as a just consequence of a crappy job.
The study concludes that the ideal, fair-minded work environment hires employees based on merit and uses public advertisements rather than personal referrals for recruitment and has affirmative action policies for equal opportunity.
Do you believe that African-Americans sometimes exaggerate their claims of racial discrimination? Have you ever been discriminated at work?
Those who tuned in to Love & Hip Hop this week may have caught an intense discussion between Jen Bayer and Raqi Thunda that culminated in a few statements that have led to backlash.
After getting the brush off from Raqi — “Have fun trying to get hot” — Raqi said, “I’m white honey. It will get done.” Both women continued, throwing around racially-charged language.
With that in mind, Black Enterprise takes a closer look at workplace discrimination and what you should do if you think you’re a victim of it.
“Experts recommend keeping a diary of events,” the article says. “Document any incidents of racism that happen to you in the workplace or that you witness.”
For more tips and advice on how to deal with this situation, click through to BlackEnterprise.com.
In an interesting twist on discrimination lawsuits, a white attorney for the San Francisco Housing Authority is suing the agency and its executive director, Henry Alvarez, who is African-American, for discrimination and harassment.
Tim Larsen, the SFHA assistant general counsel, filed the complaint in San Francisco Superior Court on November 21 accusing Alvarez of repeatedly discriminating against white employees in favor of African-American employees. He also claims the executive director is a bully who uses offensive language and behavior in the office.
Larsen said he was repeatedly passed over for promotions and better assignments in favor of his African-American colleagues, decisions made by Alvarez. He cited several instances of language used by Alvarez where he demonstrated his favoritism for African-American employees.
The San Francisco Chronicle has more in-depth coverage of the lawsuit, looking into Alvarez’s background at the San Antonio Housing Authority where an employee also filed a complaint against him for an “inappropriate outburst.” The paper also spoke to several past employees of Alvarez, who echoed Larsen’s complaints about questionable behavior.
This position at the SFHA has also had its share of controversies, with previous executive directors leaving because of wrongdoings and inaction. The Chronicle reported that the SFHA operates 6,476 units of low-income housing at 45 housing projects throughout San Francisco, as well as runs the Section 8 voucher program.
Amos Brown, president of the Housing Authority Commission, calls the lawsuit “a joke,” asking “How can he be discriminated against?”
What do you think? Is it possible?