Saturday, October 23, 2021

Atlanta Hawks Hit With Racial Discrimination Lawsuit from White Ex-Employee

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*A former employee of the Atlanta Hawks is suing the team for discrimination, claiming she was fired because she is white and because she is a woman.

According to a lawsuit obtained by The Blast, Margo Kline says she worked for the Hawks from June 2012 through March 13, 2017 as a Community Development Coordinator in the team’s Corporate Social Responsibility Department.

Kline claims that in 2014, a man named David Lee (who is African American) was given a leadership position over the department she worked in. Kline claims that Lee “promoted a culture of discrimination against white individuals,” and adds Lee further discriminated against her because she is a woman.

Among Lee’s alleged discriminatory actions, Kline alleges:

• being dismissive and exclusionary toward white employees, especially white females, including Plaintiff
• making jokes about white culture
• making it clear that he wanted to hire black individuals and did not want to hire white females for positions opening up in his department
• expecting and requiring more of white individuals, especially white females, than black individuals in the department
• promoting and hiring less qualified black individuals over white individuals, especially white females
• more readily and quickly offering raises and promotions to black individuals and males

Kline says she complained about Lee’s behavior, “but the Hawks did not take action to stop the discrimination.”

After her complaints, Kline claims she was subjected to retaliation and continued discrimination. She claims employees in her department began to treat her “with contempt, negativity, and a lack of respect.”

Kline claims in February of last year, she complained about Lee to the Hawks’ African American Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Nzinga Shaw. In her meeting, Kline says she also accused the team’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee of being hypocritical.

A few weeks later, Kline says she was written up for “ongoing deficiencies in her conduct and/or performance” despite, she claims, having never been disciplined about her performance before. The write-up was categorized as a “Final Written Warning.”

Three weeks later, Kline claims she was fired by the Hawks.

Kline is suing for racial discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. She is seeking unspecified damages.

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