CMH Service filed charges in New York with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC Charge No. 520-2015-03137), against Brooks Brothers Incorporated, a high end clothier with stores both nationwide and internationally, on behalf of a former female sales associate.
The former sales associate is going public with allegations of sexual and racial harassment at Brooks Brothers, Incorporated’s Liberty Plaza store in downtown Manhattan. In the charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Amy (not her real name) accuses the tony retailer of discrimination and harassment including one incident caught on security footage.
She also disclosed that the store’s manager, David Reese, was directly involved in discriminating against black customers for “shopping while black”. In one case a woman who spent over $7000 on clothing at the store, was subjected to interrogation and was not allowed to complete the purchase until Reese personally spoke to her credit card company.
Amy was prevented from selling the store’s premium men’s products, including suits, and was kept off the most profitable shifts because of her gender. She says she was also denied promotions and bonuses. This despite having worked at Brooks Brothers for over 10 years and being ranked the top salesperson in the company for credit sales, and the twenty-fifth highest salesperson nationwide out of a sales force of 5000,
“This is not a case of one or two innocent off-color jokes,” said her representative. “This is a sustained assault of daily abuses and a painfully hostile work environment.”
The most shocking charges relate to the frat house atmosphere at the Lincoln Plaza store. Male staff members would also discuss her anatomy. One stated that he would “[masturbate] in the bathroom thinking about that big [butt]” and “you’re a big girl. I’m not sure I could handle you in bed.” The charges detail that Amy was told she could make money as a stripper and could “work the pole” which sometimes referred to a stripper’s pole and other times referred to his penis.
In a stunning setback for the company a judge ruled that Brooks Brothers didn’t have the policy for which the company claimed it fired Amy, A decision issued April 3, 2015, by Judge Manuel Marks in Brooklyn, New York found for Amy. He wrote, “regardless of whether or not [Amy] was sleeping on the job… [she] was not warned that a one-time occurrence could lead to termination eventually or even immediately. Indeed the employer’s conduct regarding prior counseling reports evidence that [Amy] did not know and had no reason to know that such conduct…could result in termination.”
More damaging for Brooks Brothers is a surveillance video obtained by CMH Services that shows two male staffers, including her direct supervisor, sneaking up on her and snapping pictures of her breasts as she rocks back and forth clutching her abdomen in pain.
See the video at https://youtu.be/qALUS0GWe1o
CMH Services represents employees facing racial, sexual, age-related, disability, and many other forms of discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination. CMH Services also represents employees at unemployment hearings, mediations, and arbitrations.