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L'Oréal accused of racism in lawsuit by former employee

L'Oréal is a familiar name to consumers in New York, and a woman who worked at the company as a marketing vice president alleges that her employer subjected her to racial discrimination and a hostile work environment. According to her lawsuit, a male executive watched pornography on his phone during a work meeting, and business trips included sex parties at luxury hotels. She described upper management as hostile to her rights as an African American.

After confiding in her co-workers that she felt physically threatened by one of the male vice presidents during a business trip, she decided to file a complaint against him. Her lawsuit claims that this action prompted L'Oréal to retaliate by firing her when she got back from vacation.

A statement from her former employer blamed her dismissal on declining work performance. An investigation by the human resources department reported that no co-workers confirmed her allegations. An attorney representing the woman countered that the company's investigation relied solely on statements from white workers still on payroll. The attorney said that no one at the company asked the woman about her experience. Her lawsuit is pursuing compensation for lost income plus other damages.

Although the 1964 Civil Rights Act bars employers from discriminating against workers because of their race, this type of workplace discrimination persists as a problem for many people. A person experiencing unfair treatment, lower pay or retaliation for complaints could ask an attorney for representation with a view towards pursuing a settlement or, if none is forthcoming, a lawsuit.

Source: Ebony, "L'Oréal Sued for Racial Discrimination & Toxic Work Environment", Jessica Bennett, Nov. 27, 2018

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