Framboise Patisserie, a French bakery in Queens, New York was fined $25,000 by the NYC Human Rights Commission for discriminating against employment applicant Jamilah DaCosta, 25, due to her race, reports the NY Daily News.
DaCosta interviewed with Framboise Patisserie’s co-owner Patty Meimetea in October 2011 and was told she was unsuitable for the “counter girl” position “because you’re Black.” Allegedly, Meimetea said that Black workers at the front of the store would scare away customers.
The Human Rights Commission fined Framboise $25,000 not only for their racial discrimination against DaCosta, but for placing a gender-specific Craiglist ad for a “counter-girl.”
“I felt hurt. I was disgusted,” DaCosta said. “Before I could even pull out my resume or start a formal interview, she was telling me all this negative stuff — she couldn’t hire me because I was black, I would scare away her customers.”
Adding insult to injury, Meimetea told DaCosta that she would hire her if a position became available in the kitchen, “where customers wouldn’t see her.”
“They’re not judging me on my personality, but my skin color. What century are we living in?” DaCosta said. “I thought I had thick skin, I thought I could withstand anything, but it just completely broke me down.”
Read more from NY Daily News below:
The owners denied making racist remarks — and insist DaCosta is lying. “Of course this is not true,” Meimetea said in a brief interview.
Meimetea’s husband and co-owner AJ Saputhanthri said that DaCosta was not hired because the shop had already filled the position and added that DaCosta didn’t have the necessary experience.
“I can’t hire somebody who worked at McDonald’s,” he said. “She don’t even know what is the cookie dough.”
Saputhanthri added that he found any charges of racism absurd, because he himself is from Sri Lanka. “I want the human rights judge to look at me and tell me I look like a white,” he said.
Saputhanthri even accused DaCosta herself of racism, saying she assumed his wife, Meimetea, was racist because she looked white. Meimetea is Greek.
It’s never true. I swear to you,” he said. “I respect everybody. I don’t do anything bad to people.”
“They want only money,” he said of city officials. “I’m a simple man living simple, working hard … They want to take my money away.”
Read more at the NY Daily News.