A former sales executive for Marriott is suing his former employer, alleging that he was not only instructed to dance for co-workers during meetings but that a picture of Buckwheat was used to represent him during a work-related exercise.
According to NBC News, Daryl Robinson began selling timeshares for the hospitality company in February 2017. In his lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles County, California, court on Thursday, Robinson claimed a sales director asked him to dance to music, often Michael Jackson, during team meetings.
In the court documents obtained by NBC News, Robinson recalled one occasion when the same director allegedly made comments about the overall physical appearance of the staff, saying “we have a good-looking crew,” before turning to him and commenting, “Daryl looks ready to breakdance.” When he didn’t submit a baby photo of himself for a team-building exercise centering on how well everyone knew one another, a female co-worker allegedly used a photo of “Little Rascals”/”Our Gang” character Buckwheat and asked, “Who do you guys think this is?”
Prior to the incident, Robinson allegedly told the female co-worker that he didn’t have a baby photo to submit and it would be pretty easy to identify him anyway as he’s the only African-American in the office. According to the report, she allegedly floated the idea of using Buckwheat to represent him, prompting Robinson to highlight its racist implications and urging her not to do so.
Robinson also claimed he wasn’t given a normal cubicle upon his hiring. Instead, he said he was relegated to a closet that lacked air conditioning and was half the size of his colleagues’ working space. According to MyNewsLa.com, the lawsuit stated that Robinson was eventually assigned a cubicle and his previous office was used to house vending machines.
His lawyer said Robinson’s doctor placed him on medical leave due to anxiety and that he resigned on January 1, 2018.
The ex-sales executive accused Marriott of racial discrimination, failure to prevent racial discrimination, and retaliation. He is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
A spokesperson for Marriott said in a statement to NBC, “We are aware of the allegations of this suit but as a policy, do not comment on legal issues and matters.”
[Featured image: Mike Mozart/Flickr]