The high fashion clothing brand Alexander McQueen, based in the UK, has been named in a New York lawsuit alleging that it has a pattern of racial discrimination against minority employees.
Two African-American workers employed at the McQueen flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York City have filed a complaint in New York Supreme Court against Alexander McQueen Trading and Ltd., Kering Americas Inc., and four of its managers.
The complaint states that the company “engaged in systematic racism.” The plaintiffs contend that the defendants have policies and procedures in place to keep minority employees away from customers and prevent them from advancing in the company.
The plaintiffs in this action are Christopher Policard, an inventory supervisor, and Duane Davis, an inventory clerk. The plaintiffs allege in the complaint that their supervisors falsely accused them of stealing from the store. When they reported what they perceived as discriminatory treatment, they claim their supervisors “laughed at” them. The court papers state that the company performed a cursory and meaningless investigation into the matter and acted in a manner to worsen the situation.
The lawsuit also alleges that the company purposefully keeps African-American employees out of sight from customers. The pair alleges that the only time African-American workers are visible is when they are invasively searched “for theft in front of other employees and customers, which is done on the floor during business hours. White employees, on the other hand, are screened for theft after closing and in private.”
The complaint goes on to allege that defendants also “systematically reject African-American job applicants who seek positions on the sales floor where they can be seen by customers.”
According to Women’s Wear Daily, the complaint lists four causes of action against all the defendants: Racial harassment and hostile workplace; racial discrimination; retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Plaintiffs seek an unspecified amount of damages as well as a declaratory judgment stating that the defendants’ actions are in violation of the law. Plaintiffs also want to stop the defendants from continuing to allow and enforce discriminatory practices and policies.
This is not the first time that the brand has been named as the defendant in a discrimination case. In 2013, a security guard at the Alexander McQueen store, Othman Ibela, filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that he was the subject of racially offensive taunting and joking. The same year, a Hispanic saleswoman named Moselle Blanco filed a lawsuit claiming that she was frequently harassed and insulted by her supervisor because of her national origin
Racial discrimination in the workplace is a serious allegation and it seems as though Alexander McQueen Trading is no stranger to these types of charges. Employees in New York are protected by numerous federal and state laws. The laws are in place to ensure that no one has to endure harassment or discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, and more.
The anti-discrimination attorneys at Leeds Brown Law, P.C. have been successfully advocating for New York City and Long Island employees for decades. We represent clients in all areas of discrimination in the workplace. If you have experienced discrimination or harassment where you work, contact our office for assistance.