According to a recent statement from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), popular clothing retailer Wet Seal illegally discriminated against a former store manager after determining that there were too many African-American employees at her store.
As reported in The New York Times, management for Wet Seal has openly declared that they prefer to have employees who have the "Armani look, were white, had blue eyes, thin and blonde in order to be profitable." African American store manager Nicole Codgell was fired a day after Wet Seal senior vice president for store operations inspected several stores, including hers. After the inspections, the senior vice president sent an email stating, "African Americans dominate -- huge issue."
Representatives for Wet Seal claim that Codgell voluntarily resigned. However, the EEOC found that the email from Wet Seal senior vice president for store operations, as well as the company's sudden firing of multiple African-American employees from their Pennsylvania stores, created a hostile work environment in which Codgell was forced to exit. Before Codgell's departure, her store was ranked 8th of over 500 Wet Seal stores nationwide. The EEOC has indicated that it would seek "a just resolution of this matter" through negotiations.