Washington, DC - Americans Against Racism and Discrimination (AARD), held a protest at Bloomingdale's on Black Friday in response to current and former employee's complaints of harassment and discrimination by the retailer. The employees, all African-American, say they experienced hostile and extremely humiliating acts of harassment and discrimination at Bloomingdale's by its management that included; verbal harassment/badgering, job discrimination, threats and race and gender discrimination.
Several employees say they reached out for help and complained to company CEO Michael Gould, but the company retaliated with more harassment, including forcing some of them out of their jobs after they complained.
The AFL-CIO Local 400 union was notified in an effort to curtail the harassment and investigate. Following an investigation, the union filed a grievance against the company and recommended that Bloomingdale's manager, Julia Palmer, issue a formal apology for her behavior in harassing several African-Americans in July 2009, but Bloomingdale's and Ms. Palmer refused.
"'Placism' is what it's called today...'Placism' is the new racism," says a former employee and top-performer at Bloomingdale's Chevy Chase, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "If you're Black, Bloomingdale's means for you to stay in your place," says the employee, who even recently made a trip to Bloomingdale's corporate offices in New York to complain, only to be informed by VP William Hearst that the company has no intentions of changing.
Another former employee and top-performer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says that when he asked VP William Hearst why the company refused to hire any Black men as general managers at any of its stores or in senior level management, Hearst made a special trip to Washington where he stripped him of his title as Giorgio Armani specialist and told him to quit, or be fired.
"Bloomingdale's is a racist company that harasses and discriminates against African-Americans, especially Black men," says the employee. He went on to say that Bloomingdale's is "...a revolving door of racial harassment and discrimination against Blacks, and is a place where Black excellence, especially among men, is loathed."