Gotta give Chick-fil-A credit for one thing: President Dan Cathy actually admitted he -- and his company, by extension -- doesn't support marriage equality. But looks like juniors clothing retailer Wet Seal may have been flying a bit more under the radar, shall we say, about their discriminatory beliefs ... until now.
Nicole Cogdell successfully managed a Wet Seal at a Pennsylvania mall and was then promoted to a new store at the higher-end King of Prussia mall. Now, she's one of three former Wet Seal managers who have filed a federal race discrimination lawsuit in July, alleging the retailer of instituting a high-level policy of firing and denying pay raises to African-American employees. Speaking to CNN this week, Codgell told her story ...
She said that when company vice-president Barbara Bachman came to her King of Prussia store:
She literally looked at my district manager and said, 'That's the store manager? I wanted someone with blonde hair and blue eyes.'
Whaaaat?! And wait, that's just the beginning! Cogdell was fired just four days after that incident and replaced by a white woman who had less experience and a far less stellar job performance record but ended up getting paid MORE.
Making the chain look even worse is an email sent by Bachman right after she visited King of Prussia ... Railing out about multiple things she took issue with (like visual merchandizing), the VP wrote:
Store Teams - need diversity. African American dominate - huge issue.
Wowwww! Thankfully, Bachman is no longer working for the embattled retailer, but it sounds like her leadership was far from the company's only problem. She may have been echoing what those involved in the lawsuit say was a pervasive bias against black employees at the company. As in Cogdell's case, the lawsuit asserts that black employees were often replaced by their equally (or less) competent white peers who were then paid more. So so sketchy. Please, tell me, what century are we living in again?!
Of course the upshot in this case will have to be determined in the federal court. But given the evidence on the table and the discrimination it sounds like Codgell and fellow black employees were subjected to, we can only hope that justice will be served.
Check out CNN's story on Cogdell and the lawsuit ...
Do you think it sounds like Cogdell and others in her shoes have quite the case against the clothing retailer?
Image via CNN/YouTube