When discrimination based on race occurs, it can affect a single individual in a single instance or over time or it can affect an entire class of people under a discriminatory policy. According to one woman who previously worked for Wet Seal, it occurred within the company in both forms. At the heart of both complaints is an email from the vice president stating that there were simply too many African Americans employed at one location.

The 41-year-old woman happened to work at the location referenced in the email. She claims that not only was it a company-wide issue as the email stated, but that she specifically was passed up for a promotion and dismissed from her job entirely simply because of the color of her skin.

The woman no longer works at the clothing retailer, instead employed as a community liaison for a county mayor. She is also the plaintiff in two separate lawsuits against the company. One was filed this past July in federal court and remains pending at the moment as class-action status is sought.

The second lawsuit began with an individual complaint filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency looked at the complaint and recently reported that the discrimination claimed was substantial enough to head on to federal court.

Wet Seal representatives reported that the company will fight the lawsuit, claiming that the vice president has already been let go from his position. The representatives also reported that the company is and plans to continue to cooperate in finding a resolution with the EEOC.

Source: philly.com, “EEOC finds basis for racial discrimination at Wet Seal,” Dec. 5, 2012

Our website provides information to those who feel like they are the target of discrimination based on race, color or ethnicity at a workplace in Kansas or Missouri.