A former Amazon area manager has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the employer after what he claims was unlawful termination for singing during his shift. According to the lawsuit, the Plaintiff, a Caucasian man, alleges that he was fired for singing a verse from “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” an African American spiritual and Christian Hymn. He states that his former employer said his choice of song was deemed a “Category One Harassment Offense,” a violation resulting in termination.
Represented by Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C., the man claims his firing would not have happened if he had not been Caucasian, filing the lawsuit under Title VII and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
The suit states that the plaintiff and other managerial staff play music for employees throughout the warehouse during shifts. The night in question, the plaintiff and two other managers were discussing what music to play, while browsing available music collections on YouTube. According to the claimant, a video for “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was recommended, and that upon seeing the title, he began singing “Swing low, sweet chariot, coming forth to carry me home,” softly to himself. The managers decided on a different music collection, and all returned to their work.
The plaintiff was later summoned to a meeting involving two senior Human Resources representatives and questioned about his singing of the old hymn. He confirmed that he had, in fact, quietly sang a verse, and understood the history of the song and its correlation to slavery. It was during this meeting he was informed a fourth manager, who did not participate in the music selection, had filed a complaint that his singing was offensive and intentionally racially motivated.
According to the suit, the plaintiff adamantly denied the claim, stating he harbors no racist beliefs against African Americans, and only began singing the song because he enjoys the song and knew the lyrics. He also expressed remorse if his singing offended the coworker who lodged the complaint in any way. Additionally, he requested, and was denied, the opportunity to speak with the offended manager about her perspective and life experiences and to apologize to her directly for any hurt he may have inadvertently caused. One week later, his employment with Amazon was terminated.
The former manager contends that his firing was not based on legitimate business reasons and that he was terminated due to his race. The two-count lawsuit seeks a rate of pay, benefits, and emoluments of employment he would otherwise have received had he not been unlawfully discriminated against. The complaint also seeks front pay, compensatory and punitive damages for future pecuniary losses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, pre- and post-judgement interest, loss of enjoyment of life, court costs, and expert witness’ and attorney’s fees.
Obtaining compensation for victims of unlawful discrimination is a top priority for the Philadelphia employment discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C., especially for clients who have lost their jobs due to unlawful discrimination. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and South Jersey.