Wet Seal faces class action after smoking-gun email

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Foothill Ranch-based fashion retailer Wet Seal faces a class-action lawsuit from black current and former employees who allege an internal email complained that the company had too many black workers.

According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Santa Ana, a former vice president for store operations sent an email to lower-level managers stating “African-Americans dominate—huge issue.”

Apparently, the message was re­­ceived. The next day, a black store manager in Pennsylvania was fired. The manager claims she had previously heard the vice president state that she wanted someone with “blond hair and blue eyes” to fill a vacant position.

A black former manager in New Jersey claims she was told to hire more white employees or face termination. That manager said that after the vice president’s email, many black employees were “terminated despite doing a good job and without any explanation.”

It looks like litigation in this case might be protracted and expensive. Attorney Brad Seligman, who represented employees in the massive Wal-Mart v. Dukes class action, will fill the same role in this case.

Wet Seal denied any wrongdoing.

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