Framboise Patisserie in Queens, New York has been fined $25,000 by the city after an investigation revealed that a young black woman, Jamilah DaCosta, was discriminated against because of her race.
DaCosta had responded to a Craigslist ad for a “counter girl,” but during the interview, she was told by the co-owner, Patty Meimetea, that “I can’t hire you because you’re black.” Her husband would be angry, she told DaCosta, if she hired a black woman for the “counter girl” position, but said that if she had an opening in the back, where no one could see her, she would have hired her.
As DaCosta left, Mimetea advised her to look at the pictures hanging in the bakery, and note that they’re all of white people.
“They’re not judging me on my personality, but my skin color. What century are we living in?” she told The Daily News. “I thought I had thick skin, I thought I could withstand anything, but it just completely broke me down.”
Meimetea denies making the remarks, and her husband and co-owner, AJ Saputhanthri, told The Daily News that she wasn’t hired because the position hadn’t been filled, and because she lacked the requisite experience.
“I can’t hire somebody who worked at McDonald’s,” he said. He believes the charges of racism are absurd, because he is from Sri Lanka: “I want [the city Human Rights Commission] to look at me and tell me I look like a white,” he told The Daily News.
In its decision, the city’s Human Rights Commission noted that the couple’s claims lacked credibility. They admitted to never having hired a black woman to work the counter in the three years they had been in business. The $25,000 fine includes $10,000 in damages to DaCosta, as well as a $10,000 fine for racial discrimination and another $5,000 for gender discrimination for the original “counter girl” ad.
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Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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