Saturday, July 18, 2015

Suit last year charging discrimination by Barclays Center, Levy Premium Foodservice, and supervisors was settled before trial

So, why do I think the lawsuit charging the Barclays Center with dangerous design will get settled and dismissed before trial?

Because it's the nature of corporate entities to ensure that potential bad news gets squelched, and the cost of making a problem go away usually is well worth it, given the potential financial exposure and potential bad publicity. Consider the following example

Lawsuit surfaces

As I wrote 7/29/14, five workers (four of them black) in food service at the Barclays Center filed a federal lawsuit claiming three white supervisors, Levy Restaurants, Levy Premium FoodService, and the Barclays Center (aka Brooklyn Events Center) were liable for racial discrimination, disability discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment..

Both the New York Daily News and New York Post played up claims of discrimination against the disabled. More prominent in the document, however, were claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two supervisors, for example, were alleged to refer to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.” Two were alleged to refer to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

At the time, arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News that officials take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for any type of discriminatory behavior in the workplace. It is against everything that Barclays Center stands for."

A resolution, unclear

Well, nothing was confirmed--or refuted.

After the lawsuit was filed, the defendants filed papers in objection, offering numerous standard defenses, including that all actions they took were legal, or, alternatively, that defendants exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any allegedly harassing behavior or hostile work environment, or that plaintiffs’ damages, if any, were caused or contributed to by their own actions, fault, or lack of due diligence.

After legal exchanges, and mediation, the case was dismissed last December after an unspecified settlement.

Such settlements often include nondisclosure agreements. "We cannot comment further," plaintiffs' attorney Walker Harman said in response to my query. The defense attorneys did not even respond.

That doesn't make tabloid news.

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