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Black Hershey sales rep claims race discrimination after firing

Even the sweetest place on earth can have difficulties in the workplace. A former employee who was a sales representative for Hershey believes that she was the victim of race discrimination. The black Texas rep worked for the company for over eight years until she allegedly lost her job to a white female employee.

She claims that her boss told her the reason for her termination was because she had entered false information regarding how long she was spending on building displays and stocking in stores. According to her lawsuit, her superior -- who is also black -- told the other black employees -- in particular -- how to enter time incorrectly into the system. She asserts that he also said that black employees were going to be targeted to be fired because of their race.

The plaintiff said she had had multiple conversations with her superior in which he allegedly told her that there were too many black staff members on his team and that he would be firing some of them. Another black employee who had apparently lost her job for falsifying statements gave information in her deposition that supported the theory that their superior was telling them to lie on their time records. A white employee who had lost his job for the same reason said in his declaration, that instead of being fired, he was given the option to be fired, continue at Hershey on a disciplinary plan or to resign.

According to Hershey, the race discrimination claim was unfounded because the plaintiff's superior was also black, but the court case was not dismissed; it was sent into mediation. Employers in Texas do not have the right to fire an employee based solely on their protected status characteristics. If this happens, the affected worker has the right to file a claim against his or her employer. If the case is won, the worker may receive financial relief as well as possibly being reinstated to his or her former position.

Source: courthousenews.com, "Hershey Must Mediate Discrimination Claim", Cameron Langford, Oct. 9, 2014

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