A former call center associate at the Philadelphia Home Depot located on Castor Avenue says that her termination was racially biased after she handed off a phone call that scammed the store out of an undisclosed sum of money, according to a wrongful termination suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Darlene Blount, of Philadelphia, claims that the disciplinary action was harsher than the one given to her Hispanic manager and violated her civil rights, the claim says. Blount seeks compensatory damages for any pay she has lost since her termination, plus punitive damages and additional payment for the pain and suffering she experienced since her firing.
According to the complaint, Blount was answering phones at the store's service desk on Feb. 2, 2014, when she received a call from a woman claiming to be from "corporate." The caller asked to speak to the head cashier. When Blount informed the woman that there were two on duty at the time, she asked for the one with the most experience. After a brief exchange, Blount put the caller in touch with Maria Colon.
While the content of the call is not disclosed in court documents, the suit says that it was later discovered the call was not legitimate and it cost the store money. Blount wrote up a statement about the call per her manager's instructions and did not hear anything about it for a few weeks.
On Feb. 15, 2014, Blount worked her usual shift and received another strange call, the suit says. This time, the caller asked to speak with another head cashier, named Jen. When Blount said she was not on the premises, the caller reportedly became indignant and demanded to speak with Jen, claiming she had just spoken to her at the store. When Blount offered to page Jen, the caller hung up.
A few hours later, Blount was called into the office and fired for not realizing the Feb. 2 call was not legitimate and for giving out personal information about an associate. Blount claims that the termination was a stricter punishment than given to the cashier who handled the Feb. 2 call and cost the store money.
The plaintiff is represented by attorneys from Kolman Ely in Penndel, Pa.
The case ID is 2:14-cv-06595-BMS.