PHILADELPHIA – A former human resources manager has filed suit against her former employer, claiming she was subjected to a number of discriminatory workplace practices and a hostile work environment, before being fired for retaliatory causes.
Khalilah Devore of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Dec. 8 versus Global Auto Processing Services Pennsylvania, LLC, GAPS Philadelphia, LLC and Global Auto Processing Services, Inc., all also of Philadelphia.
On Jan. 23, 2012, Devore, an African-American, began working for the defendants as a Human Resources Manager at its Pennsylvania facility in South Philadelphia. In the following months, the defendants hired Raymond Blevins, a Caucasian male, and Catherine Dale, a Caucasian female, to serve as the company’s operations manager and warehouse manager, respectively, the suit says.
In March 2012, Dale supposedly approached Devore about being afraid a fellow warehouse employee, Theodore Curtis. When Devore asked Dale why she was afraid of Curtis, Dale allegedly said she felt Curtis was “too dark”, a response Devore felt was inappropriate.
Devore learned the following week that Curtis was to be terminated, and communicated to Blevins and Dale that she felt Curtis’ termination was racially motivated – concerns which allegedly fell on deaf ears, the suit says.
Devore was also due for a performance review and merit-based raise in April 2012, but did not receive either, in alleged furtherance of the company’s discriminatory practices and despite Devore’s complaints about same from that point until her own termination of Aug. 24, 2012, the suit says.
Furthermore, Devore had been assigned to run a summer intern program in July 2012 – but during the program, Blevins supposedly stated that African-American employees and interns were “lazy due to their race” and a vice-president of operations Patrick Foran, supposedly made a comment on an alleged lack of work ethic from African-Americans, the suit says.
On Aug. 2, 2012, a custodian employed by the defendants, Vernon Anderson, allegedly stated he found a noose in the facility. When Devore inspected the area, she found the noose and subsequently reported it to the company’s national human relations manager, David Grant, the suit says.
On Grant’s direction, Devore investigated and spoke with Blevins about the discovery of the noose, the suit says. Blevins allegedly had no knowledge of the incident, but asked Devore if the noose had 13 knots. When Devore asked Blevins why that was significant, Blevins supposedly responded he had been a former member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and that such nooses were used in KKK ceremonies, the suit says.
Devore then allegedly contacted Grant and requested he personally become involved in the situation, due to its seriousness. But instead, on Aug. 24, 2012, Devore was informed by Grant she was being terminated – activity Devore claimed was in clear violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
For counts of unlawful racial discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation in violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, the plaintiff is seeking damages, jointly and severally, in excess of $50,000, plus attorney’s fees, interest and costs.
The plaintiff is represented by Edith A. Pearce and William J. Ringland of The Pearce Law Firm, in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 171201147
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at email@example.com