Archive for the ‘Consumer’ Category

Less Than Accidental Racist: Why Paula Deen’s Comments Insult Her Fans Too

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

(Time) “I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person,” says Paula Deen in the transcript of a deposition for a workplace-discrimination lawsuit that surfaced yesterday. By today, I’m thinking, she might have a better idea.

For instance: admitting that she has used “the N word” (in her and the lawyer’s words)–”of course,” and probably on more than one occasion. Defending telling racial and ethnic jokes: “it’s just what they are, they’re jokes.” And wishing she could plan a “Southern plantation wedding” for her brother, with African American servers in the part of antebellum slaves. (Deen reportedly didn’t go through with that idea because, you know, “the media” would have twisted it into something. Those media! Always turning folks’ innocent plantation-slave parties into something racist!)

The transcript, published by the Huffington Post after initial reports in the National Enquirer, came in a discrimination and sexual-harassment lawsuit by a former employee against Deen and her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers. The lawsuit’s specific allegations are still being litigated, but Deen’s on-the-record comments–her rationalization of racism maybe even more so than her admissions–could be even more damaging to the southern cook’s empire, built on media and butterfat.

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Marcus Books, Oldest Black Bookstore In The Country, On The Brink Of Closure

Monday, June 24th, 2013

(Huffington Post) The oldest African American-owned bookstore in the country is on the brink of closing its doors.

Founded in San Francisco's Fillmore District in 1960 by Raye and Julian Richardson, Marcus Books has been a hub of the city's black culture for over half a century. The store has hosted readings by luminaries like Toni Morrison, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Oprah Winfrey.

But now, after falling victim to a predatory loan at the height of the housing bubble and losing ownership of the property in a bankruptcy, the family that has operated the bookstore for generations has been ordered to vacate the premises by Tuesday.

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California Clothing Store Will Pay $7.5 Million In Racial Discrimination Settlement

Friday, June 21st, 2013

(Think Progress) California-based clothing retailer Wet Seal will pay $7.5 million and make a series of changes aimed at reducing racial discrimination after a federal court approved a settlement last week.

A California district court gave preliminary approval to the national class action settlement in the case, Cogdell v. Wet Seal, which alleged that Wet Seal “had a policy of denying equal pay and promotion opportunities and firing African-American store management employees” in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The plaintiffs were represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and two other law firms. The court will decide in November, after a review of the claims process, whether to grant final approval.

If the settlement, which the two parties reached May 8, is approved, at least $5.58 million of the $7.5 million in monetary relief will be paid in damages to current and former managers of Wet Seal outlets who are black or African-American. The company will also take several non-monetary steps, including expanding its human resources department and tracking job applications to ensure diversity in hiring and applications.

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BMW Sued For Racial Discrimination In South Carolina

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

(The Car Connection) Summer is here, and across America, the mercury is climbing. But in Spartanburg, South Carolina, things are a little hotter than usual: yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against BMW, claiming that the automaker discriminated against African American workers there. 

As with most lawsuits, this one is a little messy, but this gist is this:

BMW contracted with a company called UTi for some of its Spartanburg workforce. UTi provided logistics services, which, according to a press release from the EEOC, "included warehouse and distribution assistance, transportation services and manufacturing support".

Like many companies, both BMW and UTi conduct background checks on potential employees. However, UTi looks only at an applicant's record over the last seven years, and it takes into account the nature and severity of any conviction found. So, while murder or kidnapping might be a very big red flag, petty theft or a minor drug conviction might not. 

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Cheerios stands by inter-racial family ad

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

(Detroit News) A mom sits at her kitchen table writing something down when her grade schooler saunters up with a big box of Cheerios.

“Mom,” says the girl. “Yes, honey?” mom responds. “Dad told me Cheerios is good for your heart. Is that true?”

Mom glances at the box, noting that it says the whole-grain oats inside are “heart healthy.”

Cut to dad napping on the living room couch. He stirs and starts to sit up, sending a pile of Cheerios on his upper chest (where his heart is) crunchily cascading to cushions and floor.

The message is in line with the company’s long-running Heart Healthy campaign, except this 30-second ad features a black dad, white mom and biracial child and produced enough vitriol on YouTube last week that Cheerios requested the comments section be turned off.

This week, the company is standing by the fictitious family, which reflects a black-white racial mix uncommon in commercials today, especially in ads on TV, at a time when interracial and interethnic couples are on the rise in real life.

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Papa John’s workers in Sanford fired for racial slurs on voicemail

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

(Orlando Sentinel) Two Papa John's employees were fired from a Sanford store after accidentally calling a customer and leaving a voicemail message laced with racial slurs.

The customer posted a YouTube video that included audio of the message in which two employees talked about a tip from a customer and then singing and laughing while repeatedly using a racist slur.

Papa John's Pizza Chairman and CEO John Schnatter posted a apology on Facebook, writing that he had reached out to the customers and that the two employees were fired.

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The Top Ten Tech Companies for Diversity

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

(Baseline) As enterprises continue to expand globally, the significance of diversity hiring and promoting practices cannot be undervalued. Businesses that fail to grasp this will find themselves at a significant competitive disadvantage as they attempt to win over new international markets. With this in mind, DiversityInc has come out with its annual"Top 50 Companies for Diversity" list. More than 890 organizations took part in the survey, from which DiversityInc compiled its rankings. At the top of the list is Sodexo, the high-profile provider of integrated food and facilities management services. However, as an exclusive for Baseline, DiversityInc has also produced the following list of the top 10 technology companies for diverse hiring and leadership representation practices. (Important note: DiversityInc uses the term "black" in its reporting rather than "African American" because of the wealth of professionals from international nations who benefit from the included companies' diversity initiatives.)

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Teen Clothing Brand Slapped With $7.5 Million Fine After Racism Allegations

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

(Business Insider) Teen clothing brand Wet Seal has reached a $7.5 million settlement over allegations that it horrendously discriminated against employees of color, because they didn't have the "white," "blue eye," "thin and blond" look the brand wanted, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Three former managers filed the lawsuit last year, accusing the nationwide retail chain of actively firing and denying raises and promotions to black workers. One plaintiff, former manager Kai Hawkins, said that her boss threatened to fire her unless she hired more white employees. Another, Nicole Codgell, claimed that she was fired the day after the company's senior vice president for store operations toured several outlets and sent an email to lower managers, "African American dominate — huge issue." 

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Padi Restaurant In Trouble Over Racial Slurs And Offensive Posts On Social Media

Sunday, April 28th, 2013


(Huffington Post) Offensive posts and comments are rampant on the internet, but they don't make for particularly good business when associated with a restaurant. A Delaware eatery is learning this after derogatory comments and inappropriate photos popped up on its social media accounts earlier this month.

The News Journal reports that someone recently posted racial slurs and photos of receipts with low tips on Facebook and Instagram accounts associated with Padi Restaurant in Hockessin. The accounts have since been removed, but Daily Mail posted screen captures of the offensive posts.

Among the photos in question is an image of a paid bill of $53.80 with a tip of $5.20, which is less than 10 percent, from a customer with an Indian surname. It wasaccompanied by the caption, "What do you expect from a last name like that? Sand ni****s will never change #cheap #jew." Another reads, "Cheap a**, order takeout and eat it at the bar. #notip #monday #cheap #trash." Other posts, on both Facebook and Instagram, took shots at additional customers deemed to have tipped unsatisfactorily. Many were accompanied by hashtags including #deuchbag and #hillbillies.

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Customer Sues for Racial Slur on CVS Receipt

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013


(FindLaw) A CVS store is in hot water this week over a racial slur that appeared on a customer's receipt. Customer Hyan Lee was more than dismayed when she found that her CVS receipt for photographs read "Ching Chong Lee."

Lee was furious when she learned that CVS had merely disciplined and counseled the employee responsible for the slur, and has filed a $1 million lawsuit, The Huffington Post reports.

Given the current state of anti-discrimination laws and policies, Lee likely has more than one legal leg to stand on.

Full story…

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