A black manager at DevaCurl salon in SoHo is suing her former employer. This move comes after she got fired for reporting what she referred to as racist employee behavior.
In New York, it’s illegal for any employer to mistreat both their customers and employees based on their race.
Racism allegedly started as a response to change
According to court documents, DevaCurl initially targeted its salon and hair care products towards Jewish women. But in recent years, they’ve tried to expand their customer base to include African American women. As part of this transition, the company reportedly began to hire more black employees.
However, Ms. Samuel claims many white workers at the salon had an adverse reaction to these changes. She said they quickly turned the salon into a “racist and hostile work environment.” Some of the things they allegedly did include:
- Using racial slurs and stereotypes about black customers behind closed doors.
- Complaining about black customers’ hair.
- Handling black customers’ services differently than white customers.
- Saying black customers didn’t tip well.
- Making comments about how black people were promoted simply because of their race.
In one instance, Ms. Samuels said she fought with another salon employee. During the altercation, the worker reportedly screamed at her, saying she was racist towards white people and then continued to berate her with racist and sexist rhetoric. That employee later got fired according to court documents.
Her boss reportedly retaliated when she spoke up
When Ms. Samuels attempted to file a report with the company, she took her claims directly to human resources. But as a result, her boss allegedly punished her by moving her desk to a broom closet.
Workers deserve protection from illegal discrimination
While the outcome of this case is still pending, racial discrimination against anyone inside a business establishment is unacceptable, especially here in New York City. When workplaces foster a culture of racial discrimination, it can have negative and long-lasting effects on its customers and workers. Sadly, this can undermine productivity, employee morale and profitability if not dealt with appropriately.