Eight men have filed a lawsuit against Saks Fifth Avenue, claiming that they endured discrimination due to their age and race while working there.
According to the lawsuit, the former employees worked at the Saks Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan and were put in the men’s department with “limited customer traffic and far removed from the department’s front entrance.”
Derick Longley, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, started working at the department store in August 2016 and was a salesperson for Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label. He claimed one of his co-workers told him he was speaking ‘ghetto’ and ‘Ebonics’ to black customers and that he needed to stop doing that. Longley added that the same coworker kept him from getting promoted to a brand ambassador at Saks because he didn’t have the right look.
Longley claimed that he was very good at his job and surpassed his sales goal of $300,000 within the first six months of working there, but still had to endure a hostile working environment.
“None of Plaintiff Longley’s similarly-situated Caucasian counterparts were treated in this fashion,” the lawsuit said. Longley was terminated from his position in September 2017.
Kenneth Taylor, another plaintiff, said that the director of Saks’ men’s luxury collections frequently singled him out and criticized him. During a meeting with a manager with Ermenegildo Zegna, the Italian fashion house, the director allegedly told the manager that “he was wasting his time on Plaintiff Taylor because he was not going to remember anything.”
The minority employees weren’t the only ones who faced discrimination. Two white employees, ages 68 and 70, said they kept up with their sales, but were still set up to fail and were wrongly terminated.
Canada-based Hudson’s Bay Company, which took over operations of the Saks brand in 2013, said that it doesn’t comment on pending litigation, but that they “take these allegations seriously as we are committed to diversity and inclusion across our organization.”