An African-American woman who claims she was discriminated against by a Victoria's Secret store at Zona Rosa has filed a wrongful dismissal lawsuit against the company.
The case, which was originally filed in Platte County Circuit Court, was transferred to U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri today.
The lawsuit cites Victoria's Secret and store manager Rachel Dallas as defendants.
According to the petition, Nyah L. Frazier was fired in August 2010 from her position as a sales clerk with Ms. Dallas telling her she was suspected of theft. Ms. Frazier had been questioned by the company's loss prevention officer a month earlier and had denied taking anything.
Ms. Frazier, who was the only African-American employee in the store, said the loss prevention officer, Darren Linnell told her (Ms. Frazier) "had a lot of friends who came into the store and they were 'suspicious.' Like Plaintiff, some of her friends are African-American."
Ms. Frazier pointed out to Linnell that her friends lived nearby and had gone to the same high school . "Plaintiff went on to state that she had even had some of her past teachers come into (Victoria's Secret) to sthop and who also said 'hello' to her."
The loss prevention officer kept asking her to "100 percent honest," Ms. Frazier said, and kept accusing her of lying.
Ms. Frazier continued to work at Victoria's Secret for another month, according to the lawsuit, but felt she was being treated differently. When she returned from a vacation, she called to ask when she was to work next, and was never called back.
"Plaintiff then went into the store personally and spoke with the assistant manager and was told by her that the defendant company was cutting back hours due to payroll."
After Ms. Frazier contacted the woman with vocational rehabilitation who hed helped her get the job, Jodi Gilbreth, Ms. Dallas told Ms. Gilbreth "that plaintiff was terminated for theft and that if (she) keeps trying to contact the store to inquire they would file harassment charges against her."
Ms. Frazier asked other employees if they had been questioned about the theft and was told they had not been. "They were white."
Ms. Frazier asked the company for a service letter telling what her duties had been and why she had been discharged. She has been waiting more than a year for the response.
"(Ms. Frazier) did not engage in theft from her employer while employed by (Victoria's Secret) and has been harmed in her reputation as a result of being fired for a theft as stated by the defendant company's manager in her telephone call with Jodi Gilbreth."
The lawsuit includes two counts of racial discrimination. Ms. Frazier is asking for a jury trial, compenstory damages, punitive damages, and costs.
(None of the models in the photo accompanying this story are involved in the lawsuit. All of them are white.)