Organic food retailer accused of discrimination, wrongful termination

Glaser Organic Farms is being sued for racial discrimination by the EEOC

A Miami food retailer, Glaser Organic Farms, is being sued for racial discrimination and retaliatory firing by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of an employee who claims harassment in the workplace when her manager called her racially insensitive names like "negra," "burro," and "stupid" while she worked there. The company is also accused of firing the employee in retaliation after her suit alleging a hostile work environment was filed with the EEOC. 

The complaint filed by the EEOC on behalf of Debora Velasquez details how she and other Hispanic workers were subjected to hostility and insults from management because of their skin color and nationality. Velasquez was fired in 2014 after she filed suit, alleging her manager called her "Guatemalteca" and "the chocolate one" in reference to her Guatemalan nationality and darker skin. The suit cites the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and asks that Glaser Organic Farms pay Velasquez back pay and damages for "malicious and reckless conduct." 

Velasquez's supervisor Tracey Fleming Lawrence is alleged to have repeatedly made racially insensitive comments—calling Mexicans "lazy" and "stupid," and implying their illiteracy—and even using a pair of sheers and miming cutting Velasquez's throat. The assistant managers working with Lawrence are alleged to have witnessed the behavior and not stepped in or reported it. 

"Discrimination based on a person's national origin or the color of one's skin is unacceptable in the workplace, especially in an area as culturally and ethnically diverse as South Florida," said Ana Consuelo Martinez, trial attorney in EEOC's Miami office, in a statement related to the case. "EEOC has and will continue to take action against employers who take part in this unlawful behavior."

Racial discrimination and harassment at work can happen anywhere—and our employment discrimination lawyers have years of experience identifying and successfully litigating these kinds of cases. If you have faced harassment or discrimination in the workplace, we at The Meyers Law Firm are ready to assess your claim and discuss your next steps.

The Meyers Law Firm did not provide representation in the aforementioned case