Haitian American In The News

Jury Rule Against Disney World After They Discriminated Against Haitian Employee


And just when you thought you’ve heard it all.

According to the Law 360 a college educated Haitian woman with a master’s degree who worked for Disney for the past two decades was denied a promotion because of her national origin.

According to Law360,

An Orlando jury ruled Friday that Walt Disney World Resort denied a Haitian employee a promotion based on her national origin, although the worker will not see any monetary damages as a result of the discrimination case.

The jury found that Camelia Joseph, a black Haitian woman who works in Walt Disney World’s security department, was discriminated against based on her national origin when she applied for, and was was denied, a promotion to a management position within the department. But, because Disney’s affirmative defense — that Joseph would not have been promoted had the discrimination never occurred — was upheld, the only award in the case will be determined by a judge and limited to injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees, her attorney told Law360 Tuesday.

Jerry Girley of The Girley Law Firm said Joseph still aspires to a promotion and hopes the state judge on the case will award her injunctive relief forcing Disney to place her in a management position.

“What they did and are doing is unfair, unlawful and un-American,” Girley said. “She got her citizenship. She earned a bachelor’s degree. She earned her master’s degree. But at every point when she presented herself and her credentials they said, ‘You’re not worthy’ and that is what the jury heard and did not like.”

Walt Disney World did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Joseph, who has worked for Disney for the past two decades, sued the resort in 2012 alleging retaliation and disparate treatment when a white man with less experience and education was promoted to a position for which she’d applied.

At the end of August, Orange County Circuit Judge Margaret H. Schreiber dismissed the retaliation claim, which was based on a verbal reprimand Joseph received allegedly as a consequence of a complaint she filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Schreiber said that “there is no record evidence from which it can be inferred the reasons for the verbal reprimand were a pretext for retaliation.”

In a trial beginning Aug. 31, the jury was presented with two questions: whether Joseph was discriminated against based on her race and whether she was discriminated against based on her national origin.

The jury said “no” to the former and “yes” to the latter, according to Girley.

But because Disney’s affirmative defense was upheld, his client cannot seek monetary damages and is limited to seeking a promotion, an injunction ordering Disney not to discriminate or requiring it to post a declaration that it has been found liable for discrimination. He said they also plan to seek attorneys’ fees and costs, which will be in the “six figures.”

Girley said that he has already been “bombarded” with phone calls from Disney employees following Friday’s verdict saying they have been discriminated against as well and believes those calls will only multiply if the judge orders the resort to publicly post tit has been found liable for discrimination.

Joseph is represented by Jerry Girley of The Girley Law Firm.

Disney is represented by Mary R. Houston of Shutts Bowen LLP.

The case is Camelia Joseph v. Walt Disney World, case number 2012 CA 18542, in the Orange County Circuit Court.

— Editing by Ben Guilfoy.  – Read Original Story Here 

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  • Haiti born and Haitian American born people maybe it’s time we start considering that it’s time to create more opportunities within our own community. As an over educated Haitian American I am tired of these stories and I am tired of these experiences. It’s time to regroup and do something different.

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