8 Former Saks Fifth Avenue Employees File Lawsuit Claiming the Company Discriminated on Race and Age, Report Says

November 21, 2018, 10:17 PM UTC

Eight former Saks Fifth Avenue employees are suing the high-end department store alleging that the men were denied advancement because of age and race discrimination, NBC News reports.

According to the lawsuit filed in New York state Supreme Court in Bronx County, the plaintiffs worked at the midtown Manhattan location, but in an area far from the entrance with limited customer interaction, the news source reports.

Derick Longley, one of the plaintiffs, told NBC that he was accused of “speaking ‘ghetto’ and ‘Ebonics'” and, despite meeting sales goals, was told he didn’t “have the ‘look'” to advance as a brand ambassador.
Derek Sells, an attorney at the Cochran Firm who is representing the plaintiffs, said that there are few people of color in senior management positions, NBC reported. Four of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are black, two are Hispanic, and two are white and over the age of 65.

A representative for Hudson’s Bay Company, who owns the brand, said they do not comment on pending litigation, but added “we take these allegations seriously as we are committed to diversity and inclusion across our organization.”

This isn’t the first time the retailer has been sued by its employees for alleged discrimination.

In 2015, the brand settled a lawsuit with an employee who said she was harassed because of her transgender identity. At the time, Saks made headlines for trying to defend itself, claiming discrimination based on gender identity was not banned in the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but was proven wrong by the Justice Department.