Black Salon Worker Fired for Claims of Racial Discrimination at Work

·2 min read
Photo:  The Image Party (Shutterstock)
Photo: The Image Party (Shutterstock)

Amira Smith, 23, claims she was fired from a European Wax Center in Rutherford, NJ after voicing concerns about racial discrimination and unequal pay, according to Per the suit, her boss became “increasingly angry” with her after she had approached her about white workers being paid more than Black ones.

Per Smith’s lawsuit, she was hired in June of 2020 to handle the desk, sell treatment packages and clean the floors. However, after two weeks of working, her hours were cut nearly in half and she soon learned a white woman hired at the same time was making more money. By August, she noticed her paycheck was short 10 hours and she began bringing her complaints to her manager.

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Their first correspondence was far from productive. According to the suit, when Smith approached her manager, she was met with a new schedule and more hours. Yet, in September 2020, her paychecks were still short.

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When the manager failed to discuss Smith’s concerns further, Smith followed up their conversation with text messages, the suit states.

The suit alleges that after receiving the texts, the manager reprimanded Smith for not mopping the floors properly and threatened to terminate her employment.

The reprimand allegedly was sent in a group text with other salon workers, “which was completely humiliating and embarrassing to Smith,” the suit states.

In September 2020, Smith says she reached out to the store’s regional manager who “failed to respond” to her concerns about pay inequities.

The lawsuit states Smith was fired April 13, 2021 after having an argument with a co-worker and the manager’s discovery that she runs a side business of microblading and brow waxing. Smith alleges her termination was in retaliation of her previous complaints which would violate New Jersey’s laws against discrimination.

She’s seeking $250,000 in compensatory damages and monetary damages for the wages and benefits she lost.