(CN) – The former chief financial officer of the Pennsylvania Convention Center can pursue a claim that her white skin led the center’s black CEO to treat her differently, a federal judge ruled.
Madeline Apollo sued the convention center and its CEO Ahmeenah Young in October, alleging that she was fired for speaking out about Young’s fiscal and legal mismanagement of the center.
U.S. District Judge Petrese Tucker dismissed six of Apollo’s seven claims last week.
Most of the claims relied on “mere assertions” or alleged violations of due process to which Apollo was not entitled as an at-will employee.
The only claim Tucker left standing alleges that Young violated Apollo’s rights to equal protection when she reported the racist comments of a black vice president.
Convention Center Vice President Stephanie Boyd allegedly asked a black employee, “How black are you? … Don’t you know that black women are running the Convention Center and you would go further if you were more black?”
Apollo says she reported the comment to Young, who is also black, but the CEO refused to let Boyd face discipline and then stripped Apollo of her human resources responsibilities.
“The facts of plaintiff’s amended complaint suggest that Boyd was subject to favoritism by defendant Young to which plaintiff was not privy,” Tucker wrote. “Boyd’s comment about ‘how black’ an employee was suggests that Young’s favoritism was granted on the basis of race.”