And not a good page either. They took one of the “you’re not white enough to work here” pages.
One of the former store managers at the heart of a racial-discrimination lawsuit against Wet Seal has spoken to CNN about some of her experiences working for the troubled California-based retailer.
After successfully managing a Wet Seal at a Pennsylvania mall, Nicole Cogdell was promoted to manage a new store at the higher-end King of Prussia mall. Then, company vice-president Barbara Bachman paid Cogdell’s store a visit. Cogdell says, “She literally looked at my district manager and said, ‘That’s the store manager? I wanted someone with blonde hair and blue eyes.’”
Cogdell was fired four days later and replaced by a white woman with less experience and a worse job performance record — who was nonetheless paid more.
But how do you prove racial discrimination? It always comes down to your word against theirs…except when the defendant is so clueless to her wrongs that there is an actual paper trail.
If I wanted to fire somebody for not being white, the last thing I would do is send an e-mail with any reference at all to any employee’s race. But that VP was so comfortable in her “image consciousness” that she couldn’t even fathom why this would be a problem. She just so casually said she wanted a white woman running the store and then e-mailed about how there were too many black people working there. And she saw absolutely nothing wrong with that situation.
Wet Seal is a mess anyway if they actually think some big black woman will change the image of their store for the worse. Have they seen themselves lately? I didn’t even know they *had* an image. I thought that place was Rainbow/Strawberry for the suburbs, one step above CitiTrendz, one step below Charlotte Russe. Their target demographic is somewhere between rebellious white middle school chick getting in touch with her new-found skank and complete skank on the way to the club with her two skanky friends. I didn’t know you needed blonde hair and blue eyes to sell fake jewelry, bedazzled tube tops, and low-rise jeans with outdated washes.
I hope they settle out of court for a large sum of money very quickly. Not that I don’t think it deserves to go to court, because it does. I just think Ms. Cogdell has been through enough and nobody needs to be forced to publicly defend why they actually wanted to work at Wet Seal…