‘Hire White Beauty People,’ Hey?

     MANHATTAN (CN) – A longtime manager sued Sunglass Hut, claiming it fired him for objecting to an order “to hire white beauty people” for the SoHo store, because “black and Hispanic employees … were not a good look for the store.”
     Pavolo Venezia sued Luxottica Retail North America and Sunglass Hut Trading LLC, in Federal Court. The businesses are the only defendants.
     Venezia says in the complaint that he worked for the defendants for 18 years, most recently as manager of its store on Spring Street in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood.
     He claims things changed “when Debbie Gidiull became his boss,” and the company “revamped its face of its most popular store by getting rid of older employees, black and Hispanic minority employees.”
     Venezia claims that he and the bosses “did not see eye to eye with this new directive and hiring policies and thus resulted in friction over said issues.”
     The complaint continues: “At some point during the year of 2010, Mr. Venezia was approached by high level members of the defendant who verbally reprimanded plaintiff for plaintiff’s failure to conform to previously given directive to less the amount of black and Hispanic employees. Plaintiff was reminded that black and Hispanic employees did not properly represent the customers who shopped at the SoHo stores and thus said employees were not a good look for the store.
     “Additionally, plaintiff was instructed to hire white beauty people for the store.”
     Venezia claims he continued to hire black and Hispanic employees anyway, so the bosses took away his power to hire people, wrote him up for it, and eventually fired him for it.
     Along the way, he says, his regional manager rejected all six candidates he suggested for the assistant manager’s job, “based solely on said candidates being minority.”
     Venezia claims he was wrongfully fired while on FMLA leave he had to take due to the stress of dealing with the defendants’ wrongful and illegal policies.
     He seeks punitive damages for wrongful firing, discrimination, retaliation, breach of contract, negligence, FMLA violations, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violations of New York City human rights law, and other charges.
     He is represented by Courtney Davy.

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