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protecting the rights of employees in rhode island

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Rhode Island company faces allegations of discrimination

Title VII of the Civil rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination at work based on a number of factors, including race, sex and religion. Despite this, many employees find themselves being subjected to workplace discrimination. Alex & Ani, a popular jewelry company based in Rhode Island, is being sued by a former retail operation director for sex and religious discrimination.

The employee was hired in December of 2014 after in-person interviews with a human resources representative. During the interview, the representative allegedly performed tarot card readings to analyze the employee. The representative also mentioned that he was being considered for the position of vice president of retail operations. A couple of weeks later, the employee was told that he would be given the senior director position if the representative's spiritual advisor approved.

Once the employee started working, he was required to coordinate store openings by consulting a religious numerologist to determine dates and times for the events. Construction schedules referred to ceremonies to "cleanse" the locations. When the employee tried to get rid of these ceremonies, his supervisors warned him not to. The employee was required to attend multiple cleansing ceremonies even though he was uncomfortable. When the employee complained to human resources, he was told that he would be fired if he complained.

The company ended up naming someone else as vice president of retail operations even though she was less qualified than the employee. The employee alleges that she discriminated against him and harassed him because of his gender. Human resources was told about the harassment, but refused to investigate. In 2016, the woman gave the employee a negative review and caused him to lose his bonus. He was fired in September of 2016. The employee claims that this was an act of retaliation to get him back for filing complaints about the company practices. The company has yet to comment on these allegations.

Source: Providence Journal, "Former employee accuses Alex & Ani of gender, religious bias," Katie Mulvaney, May 1, 2017

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