In October 2011, the Framboise Patisserie bakery in Middle Village, Queens, posted a Craigslist ad for a “counter girl.” Jamilah DaCosta answered the ad, and the bakery invited her to interview.
As it turned out, Ms. DaCosta was lacking one unadvertised prerequisite for the job. She wasn’t white. According to the NY Daily News, Ms. DaCosta reported that the bakery’s co-owner told her “I can’t hire you because you’re black.” The bakery furthermore said that they would have hired her if there had been an opening in the kitchen where customers would not see her. As she left the interview, she was told to observe the pictures hanging on the walls. They were all white people.
The New York City Human Rights Commission investigated the charges, including the owners’ claims that Ms. DaCosta was lying and that the position had already been filled. Nevertheless, in a September 2013 decision, the Commission found the bakery’s hiring practices to be discriminatory and ordered the bakery to pay:
- $10,000 in damages to Ms. DaCosta
- a $10,000 fine for racial discrimination
- a $5,000 fine for gender discrimination (for the gender-specific Craigslist ad seeking a “counter girl”)
Racial and gender discrimination in the workplace is illegal under federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), New York State law, and New York City law. If you have been denied employment because of racial or gender discrimination, call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation to speak to one of our experienced attorneys.