Fired male employee sues Express clothing retailer for discriminatory discharge

By Jon Campisi | Apr 18, 2012

A former employee of a popular clothing retailer who claims he was fired from his job because of his gender has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the store and its parent company.

Bensalem, Pa. employment attorney Ari R. Karpf filed the complaint April 16 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Philadelphia resident Donald Stewart.

The defendants named in the civil action are the Express store in Springfield, Pa. and Ohio-based Limited Brands Inc.

The complaint alleges that Stewart, who was hired by the company as a sales associated in the fall of 2003, was fired from his job in January 2008 shortly after being transferred to another store location.

Stewart, who was eventually promoted to a management position, was transferred from the defendant’s Granite Run location, which was a men’s Express store, to a woman’s clothing store operated by the defendants at the Springfield Mall in Delaware County, according to the complaint.

At the Springfield location, Stewart worked in various management capacities and toward the end of his employment was overseen by a female superior.

The lawsuit claims that both the new onsite supervisor and the district manager, who was also female, began expressing animosity toward Stewart because of his gender.

The two gave Stewart grief because he was working in a woman’s store, even though the men’s store that he previously worked at closed, and the company made the decision to transfer him to the new location, the suit claims.

The Springfield store was female-managed prior to Stewart’s transfer and consisted of, to Stewart’s knowledge, predominantly female employees, the complaint alleges.

“Plaintiff was explicitly treated in a hostile manner for being a male within the location by Defendants’ management,” the suit states.

Stewart was fired in January 2008 for alleged lateness and poor customer service scores, the suit states, issues that Stewart claims were “selectively enforced against him for which females were not disciplined or terminated for in a similar manner.”

After Stewart’s firing, the company replaced him with a female employee.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of violating Stewart’s civil rights. It contains a count of gender discrimination.

Stewart seeks to have the defendants prohibited from continuing its illegal policy of discriminating against employees on the basis of gender and race.

Stewart also seeks to be compensated for lost and future earnings, he seeks unspecified punitive damages, and he desires attorney’s fees and other equitable and legal relief.

Stewart is demanding a trial by jury.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-02007.

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