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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

News Contributor Fired for Bit of Americana

     LANSING, Mich. (CN) - A worker who responded to a request for information for a company newsletter by describing a ticket she found for a 1920s basketball game sponsored by the NAACP, in which the Ku Klux Klan played to benefit the Jewish Relief Fund, says she was fired for mentioning it.

Angela Shaft, an insuance processor, sued Jackson National Life Insurance Co. in Ingham County Court.

Shaft, who is white, says her manager, "in an effort to start a department newsletter, required the employees of her department, including plaintiff, to submit, on an approximately weekly basis, information about events in the employees' lives during the past week."

Shaft says the workers "were required to submit the afoementioned information to Candace Jones, a Jackson employee who is African-American."

At the time, Shaft says, she was spending her free time cleaning out her husband's grandmother's attic.

"During the course of this cleaning, plaintiff found an item of historical interest, to wit: a ticket for a basketball game from the 1920's between the Ku Klux Klan and the Knights of Columbus, for the benefit of the Jewish Relief Fund, and sponsored by National Association for the Advancement of Colored People," the complaint states.

"Because the item was of significance in American history, plaintiff believed others would be interested. Therefore, following the instructions of her manager, paintiff emailed employee Candace Jones information concerning the aforementioned ticket and how she discovered it, together with a photocopy of the ticket, for use in the aforementioned newsletter.

"By emailing the said item to Candace Jones, plaintiff was not intending to insult Ms. Jones, or to insult any particular ethnic group.

"Nevertheless, defendant discharged plaintiff for emailing the said item to Ms. Jones.

"Defendant took into account the fact that plaintiff is Caucasian in rendering the said discharge punishment.

"As a result of the foregoing, plaintiff has suffered economic loss and mental anguish damages."

Shaft seeks more than $25,000 in damages for race discrimination, plus cost. She is represented by Glen Lenhoff.

The only defendant is the insurance company.

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