A group director for Tiffany and Company is suing the classic jewelry retailer for racial discrimination. The NY Times reports Michael McClure accused his employer of a “systemic, nationwide pattern and practice of racial discrimination.” He says the brand regularly demonstrates racial bias.
McClure has worked for the retailer since 1993 and received positive reviews for his performance throughout his tenure until a change in management last fall. Anthony Ledru, senior vice president of the company, requested pictures “as a result of Anthony’s extensive market travels and meeting numerous people along the way.” Shortly after, McClure received a negative performance rating from management and a termination warning despite a 15% sales increase at McClure’s stores.
But here’s where it gets questionable: Ledru allegedly made a discriminatory remark regarding McClure after a market visit. McClure says he received a letter during two internal investigations that exposed Ledru’s true feelings. The letter read:
“Shortly after Anthony Ledru visited your market he made a comment to a small group of male market vice presidents that I think you should be made aware of. In reference to you (McClure), he expressed a surprise that ‘a black man is representing the Tiffany brand.’”
Well if Tiffany’s diamonds are conflict-free, the attitudes of their management surely don’t appear to be. When will these companies grasp the concept that the only color that matters is green? Expressing racial bias towards employees and consumers hurts their brand and directly affects their bottom line. We hope Mr. McClure gets justice if these allegations are true.