Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Did Workplace Racism raise its ugly head at TSDC

Workplace racism allegations should be taken seriously

Most employers recoil from allegations of racism. And in all too many instances, it doesn’t even matter whether the allegations are true to make the company want to settle.
That isn’t surprising. As the Ontario Court of Appeal commented in a May 2013 case by Johann Johnson against General Motors, “an allegation of racism can reverberate for many years after the incident with potentially long-term consequences for all concerned.” However, faced with such an allegation, GM refused to capitulate — and won.
The Court of Appeal’s message is, “given how serious judicial findings of racially motivated conduct in the workplace and a poisoned work environment” are, they must be carefully scrutinized by the court. The same will likely apply to any allegation of discrimination based on gender, handicap or sexual orientation.
So, let's be very serious here and not presume anything... 
Here is the complaint:
Here is the link to the complaint
H N.  Bayside, NY 
5/9/2014  Previous review

went in the store to look at a sliding door partition. I spent 20 minutes looking at the various doors. I asked the sales girl how much force is needed before a door breaks. This is a real concern since I have a dog and kids that run and kick. The girl was annoyed and sent an email to her male coworker and other female coworker and said "why are these people still here". The other worker replied "you should just make something up, not like they would know, like 200lbs of force" she then replied to his email and said "stupid  *racist comment* couple".  
I was about to sign the $5200 contract  and hand the form but as I stood by her desk to give it to her,  she left her Microsoft outlook open and I read the whole email chain. If the manager or owner is reading this, fire these employees.  
The employees just want to close a sale and will lie to you. I'm an engineer so YES I DO KNOW WHAT FORCE IS! Also they are racist.  That is uncalled for. A customer spending 20 minutes in a store to make a 5200 dollar purchase is very reasonable. Sorry if you have to work at your job for a full 20 minutes to make a 5200 dollar sale. Seriously.
If you are a minority go elsewhere and boycott the store. 
 5/15/2014 Updated review
Check the company emails from 2012. I ended up getting a door and paying 1800 more just because my wife and I never felt so insulted. I walked by the store recently and it bugged me so much just seeing the store. Both 2 girls and the one guy was on the email thread. To be fair, It's been a while so maybe those folks have left the company since then. I didn't want to step in and find out. 
I have since spoken with the owner of the store and the employees at issue are no longer with the company. She assured me that such actions are not tolerated. 
Comment from Betty J. of The Sliding Door Company Business Owner 5/15/2014  
After extensively reviewing this storyline, reviewing all of our employees' emails, videos and meeting with each individually, as the showroom manager at the Sliding Door Company, I can affirm that this scenario never took place.
Did Betty just claim they videotape customers in their showroom? Are there signs in the showroom alerting customers that they are being videotaped? She claims this reviewer, H.N. just came on here TWICE and made this all up.  And that she has checked video evidence to support this?  While she affirms the scenario never took place, she also confirmed that the employees are gone.  Readers can draw their own conclusions.
Our company is composed of employees from many different backgrounds and not one of us would use defamatory words on any minority whatsoever.
No offense, Betty, but you're in absolutely no position to know that for sure - let alone to state this here unequivocally.  It can be a goal - but please don't state it as if it were a fact.
We are very distressed to hear such rumors spread and can assure you that if any of the employees were to talk this way, their job would be terminated immediately
And, apparently, according to you, they were.  No, we get it Betty.  No racism going on here.  This pesky *racist comment* reviewer is just lying through his teeth.  HN can't seem to get enough of this lying - he came onto Yelp twice to lie about the incident with The Sliding Door Company, according to you.
Furthermore, we are asked about the amount of force the doors can handle on a daily basis; and are happy to bang on the doors to show the customers how resistant they are.
Then you must also understand that 90% of the "force" questions you get are about the operational force required to move the doors.  Banging on them doesn't answer the question.  You certainly don't bang on them with sharp objects like his children might.  And no, making up a number to satisfy a customer is not OK - it makes you appear dishonest.
This review is nothing short of a lie and I invite the anonymous reviewer to meet with me in the showroom to discuss further as this is a very serious accusation.
Wow - after two reviews, you want this person to invest even more time with you?  Why?  You've already come on-line and called him a liar after your employees possibly made racist comments about him.  You don't mind damaging HN's reputation by suggesting he's lying.  HN is NOT "anonymous" - you can click right on his initials and see his Yelp profile. The man (I have assumed this is a man) has reviewed other establishments - restaurants and such.  Some he gave bad reviews, others good reviews. To claim this person is "anonymous" is a stretch and, again, makes you look dishonest.  Why not take responsibility and apologize instead of trying to make this person out to be a liar?  YOU don't *really* know what was said since you weren't the one being accused of saying it... right Betty?  Oh wait... I forgot about the videotapes... 

UPDATE: No, don't worry, Betty didn't apologize.  Calling customers LIARS when they report racism is still The Sliding Door Company's approach.  But a similar incident happened at APPLE Corporation recently.  Look at the difference in how it was handled:  Apple's racial profiling case.  This is an excerpt from the letter to employees at Apple: 
"While I firmly believe that this was an isolated incident rather than a symptom of a broader problem in our stores, we will use this moment as an opportunity to learn and grow. Our store leadership teams around the world, starting in Australia, will be refreshing their training on inclusion and customer engagement. These are concepts and practices they know well, but can always stand to reinforce."
That is how to handle a situation like this.  When something like this happens, you address it company-wide!  Well-trained employees are a benefit to good companies.  

Managers who blame and accuse their own customers for employee racism and profiling - not so much.

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