‘You’ll Scare Away White Customers’ – NYC Bakery Fined $25,000 for Refusing to Hire African American
“I can’t hire you because you’re black.” That’s what Jamilah DaCosta, 25, claims she was told when she applied for a job as a “counter girl” as the Framboise Patisserie, a French bakery, in Middle Village, Queens.
While the pastries get great reviews, the discriminatory hiring practices of the owners have gotten fined.
Co-owner Patty Meimetea told Jamilah that she wouldn’t be a “good fit” as the counter girl – the position the shop was hiring for – because African Americans in the front of the store would simply “scare” aware white customers. That’s according to the findings made by the city Human Rights Commission.
This followed on the heels of an investigations, trial and resulting $25,000 fine for discrimination. But the fine was not only slapped on the bakery for discrimination against DaCosta for being African American, but also discrimination against men, because they were specifically hiring a “counter girl”, in the hopes that this would make men spend more money, and put women at ease. All in all, just about every aspect of the hiring practices were illegal.
“I felt hurt. I was disgusted,” DaCosta recounts of her experience. “Before I could even pull out my resume or start a formal interview, she was telling me all this negative stuff — she couldn’t hire me because I was black, I would scare away her customers.”
Meimetea told Jamilah that she would have hired her if there were a job open in the kitchen, as none of the white customers could see her there.
“They’re not judging me on my personality, but my skin color. What century are we living in? I thought I had thick skin, I thought I could withstand anything, but it just completely broke me down.”
Meimetea’s husband and the other co-owner AJ Saputhanthri said that DaCosta wasn’t hired because she “didn’t have the necessary experience.” Bear in mind that this position was for “counter girl.” To speak of “experience” as a requisite for this position is almost laughable. That’s what the city Human Rights Commission concluded too. They weren’t buying the pleas of innocence.
Saputhanthri seemed think that only Caucasians could be racist against African Americans, explaining “I want the human rights judge to look at me and tell me I look like a white.”
Saputhanthri also claimed that his Greek wife could not be racist, because Greek – he explained – was not “white”. Jamilah’s failure to see things his way, Saputhanthri said, was proof that she, not the two owners, was the racist one.
The commission ruled, however, that the “Respondents’ actions were blatant violations. Meimetea’s statements to Ms. DaCosta were cruelly and flagrantly bigoted and demeaning.”
What do you think?
(Article by Ari Simeon; Photos via the NY Daily News)