On Nov. 15, 2008, Almond-Ward complained to management about being assigned an excessive number of closing shifts. When she asked her manager why she was “being screwed on the schedule,” he told her, “You’re being screwed because you’re black.”
Two other managers were present at the time the comment was made, according to the lawsuit. One said, “You can’t say that.” The manager who made the remark allegedly responded, “Yes, I can, that’s Diane.”
Almond-Ward says she immediately documented the incident and reported it to the area human resources representative. But, instead of getting support, she said the HR rep told her not to stop speaking with the department manager.
“[The HR representative] said, ‘I don’t want her to think this is retaliation,’” Almond-Ward told AlterNet. “I said, excuse me. You want me to talk to her so she won’t feel like I’m retaliating against her? Aren’t you saying that the wrong way around? Shouldn’t I be the one who you’re saying that to? Shouldn’t I be the one you’re reassuring that I won’t be the one where retaliation won’t be used against me? Isn’t that what you meant to say? She said, ‘No. I don’t want [the department manager] to think we are retaliating against her.’ So she meant what she said. Basically, I was just flabbergasted.”
Almond-Ward, who claims in the lawsuit that the same manager referred to her as “too ghetto” to carry out a task on a separate occasion, said the incident was never addressed again.
On Feb. 21, 2010, Almond-Ward claims she received a call from store associates who needed help locating an “NFL” brand paint color. After scanning the computer attached to the paint machine, she found the term “NIGGA BLACK” entered to describe a particular color. Though Almond-Ward reported the incident to management and submitted information on an individual she suspected of inputting the racial slur, no investigation took place, according to the lawsuit.
After filing numerous complaints over her treatment, she was terminated from her position on Dec. 19, 2012.
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