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Eight Men Allege Racial and Age Discrimination by High-End Department Store

 Posted on November 27, 2018 in Workplace Discrimination

Pittsburgh workplace discrimination lawyersEvery citizen of the United States has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of age, skin color, ancestry, sexual orientation, or any other characteristics they may have. While no rule could possibly prevent every insult or instance of exclusion, there are laws in place to prevent discrimination in the workplace on the basis of certain personal characteristics. Sexual harassment—a form of sex-based employment discrimination—has been at the forefront of public consciousness for the last year or so, but other types of discrimination also occur every day throughout the country.

One of New York City’s best-known department stores is currently facing a lawsuit filed by eight former employees—all of whom are men and most of whom are older and black. The men say that Saks Fifth Avenue discriminated against them on the basis of age and race. They also claim that they were treated much differently than workers who were younger and white were treated.

A “Glass Ceiling”

The plaintiffs include four black men, two white men, and two Hispanic men. More than half of the men are over the age of 54. In their lawsuit, the men allege that black and Hispanic employees of Saks are restricted by a “glass ceiling” in place for people of color. They say that this was made evident in a variety of ways during the course of their employment. In general, the claimants allege that they were assigned to departments with low customer traffic so as to keep them “far removed from the department’s front entrance.” When the employees’ sales numbers lagged as a result, they were evaluated poorly. When they made sales goals anyway, the men said that managers found other ways to criticize their performance.

One of the black plaintiffs offered an example. He said that he was accused of “speaking ‘ghetto’ and ‘Ebonics’” by a colleague. He said the same colleague prevented him from advancement because of his “look.”

The two white plaintiffs allege that their poor treatment was related to their age—one is 68, and the other is 70. They say that despite meeting their sales goals, they were “set up for failure.” The men also claim that younger employees were much more likely to be helped by managers and supervisors.

An attorney for the men said that one of their tasks was to enter customers’ information into a computer system, but the system would return error messages and not allow them to complete the task. The men reportedly told their managers about the problems, but nothing was fixed. The plaintiff said that the managers would then evaluate the men poorly for failing to enter the customers’ information.

Saks has been owned by the Hudson Bay Company since 2014. The company has not responded to the allegations publicly.

Call a Pittsburgh Workplace Discrimination Attorney

If you have been a victim of illegal discrimination at work, an experienced Allegheny County employment discrimination lawyer can help you take appropriate action. Call 412-680-7877 for a free consultation at Colianni & Leonard LLC today.



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