Famed B&H Photo hit with discrimination suit

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Derrel, Nov 20, 2009.

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  1. Derrel
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    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Yes, that's the headline from an article dated November 19,2009 at
    FailedMessiah.com: B & H Photo, Satmar-Owned Mega Electronics Store Sued For Sex Discrimination

    Nakisha Cushnie is a B&H cashier who wanted to advance from being a cashier and into sales. She and three other female employees have filed an over-$7-million dollar lawsuit against the retail giant. Cushnie alleges that she, "asked to work in sales and make more money, but was told that no women were allowed in sales for religious reasons."

    In articles on the web today, B&H representatives denied her allegations and assured the public that they would look into the allegations.

    Two years ago B&H agreed to pay $4.3 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Hispanic employees.

    Details are in the above article, as well as on ABC and CBS web sites,each of which have their own articles.
  2. Josh66
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    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    I wonder how this will affect their prices?
  3. Plato
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    Plato New Member

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    I don't know what this world is coming to. We should bring back the separate want-ad sections, "Male Help Wanted" and "Female Help Wanted."
  4. DennyCrane
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    DennyCrane New Member

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    Simply an allegation at this point. Right now, the attorneys are going to try the case in the media to get their clients story out there. If the allegations are true, B&H will pay. If the story is not true, B&H will pay. Welcome to a tort-happy country.
  5. IgsEMT
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    IgsEMT Well-Known Member

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    My thoughts as well
  6. rocdoc
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    rocdoc New Member

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    Damn. I don't know what happened, and I hope it gets taken care of properly. But it's worrisome to see them getting into this kind of trouble. They have been the reference retailer for me, and I think others. Hope they stay in business.
  7. benhasajeep
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    benhasajeep New Member

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    It's not just a Jewish thing. The Arabs over here do this as well. Men are the primary sales people (I'm in Israel right now for work). It's the way they work (here). Not sure if B&H is strictly the same. But they do observe Shabat and do not take sales during it. And close down on Jewish holidays. So, they are pretty much by the book. And unfortunately it runs against laws in the US (if true).

    Wonder if they have ANY women sales people?
  8. camz
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    camz Well-Known Member

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    I guess it's time to switch back to Adorama
  9. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    +1... I also noticed the article didn't mention that the women were in fact qualified for the sales job(s) the were seeking.

    I saw the one women mentioned in the article had been working for B&H for only 8 months.

    I wonder if she sought any other sales jobs before going to work at B&H.

    Like Denny says, at this point, either way B&H will have to pay. Which means B&H customers will have to pay.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2009
  10. usayit
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    usayit Well-Known Member

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    Kinda reminds me about the man who sued Hooters....

    BH photo are run by Orthodox Jews (it does matter) which makes them specific targets for this type of lawsuits.

    I am more concerned with the $7million.... fine.. if they are found liable... but $7million? Wow... our society and legal system has really stooped to the bottom.



    Get rich quick.. find someone to sue. It is the American way.
  11. RyanLilly
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    RyanLilly New Member

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    This will be an interesting one, as far as constitutional law is concerned, both parties positions seem to be protected by different sections of the constitution. B&H, will argue "free exercise clause" in and the plaintiffs can argue "equal protection clause."
    Although, there is probably already precedence on situations like this.

    How long do you think It would take to earn $7 million on the sales floor?
  12. battletone
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    battletone New Member

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    But if they are not hiring any women sales people, then why should they be allowed to discriminate when others are not? I personally think privately owned businesses should be allowed to do anything they want, but they shouldn't get special treatment unless we reverse all discrimination laws. This is going to be a clear cut case...if they have women salesman, this lady has no case. If they don't, then they probably are breaking the law. It isn't a company with a handful of sales people is it? Sounds to me like they have enough employees that it would boarder on impossible to not accidentally find a qualified women for the position.

    Free exercise is with respect to government instituting a religious mandate. But for the case in point, business, unlike churches, cannot discriminate employment based on sex, race, or religion. You cannot have a "Jewish rules business", nor a "Christian rules business". You can have non-profits, but that is about the extent of it. Just because the owner is Jewish doesn't mean he gets to run his business based on his religious views, nor should he, unless we allow all businesses to do the same.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2009
  13. jbylake
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    jbylake New Member

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    Fire sale?:lol:

    J.:mrgreen:
  14. RyanLilly
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    RyanLilly New Member

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    Your probably right, but They could argue that the government mandating that they hire women, infringes upon their free exercise of religious practices. Though I wont claim to know anything about their religious beliefs of practices or traditions. I suppose it could be argued and hold up at least as good as the "Twinkie Defense":lol:
  15. DennyCrane
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    DennyCrane New Member

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    Not so fast...

    Precedent exists with Muslim banks in America offering "Sharia banking services" that are "compatible with Islamic law".

    What a jury will find is anyone's guess. Civil law and Constitutional law are 2 uniquely different animals and this case will boil down to which side can evoke more emotion in the jury towards their client. Let's just hope there's no namby-pamby judge.

    Denny Crane. Coocoo for cocoa puffs.
  16. usayit
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    usayit Well-Known Member

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    I've been many times... I can't remember a single time I saw a female working the sales counter. I've seen non-orthodox Jewish men working the counter (especially in the used department upstairs) but never a female. I've seen a friendly asian guy working the floor directing people and handing out catalogs. I've seen females at the cashiers. So I think they won't have a strong case BUT my guess is that they'll probably just settle... but for $7 million? sounds like diggin for gold.
  17. DennyCrane
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    DennyCrane New Member

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    The amount listed in a civil case is arbitrary... and generally a lot higher than the actual amount awarded. It's the jury that will decide the amount. They'll calculate pain and suffering if any, lost wages from a denied opportunity, mental anguish... there's a whole worksheet they'll have to fill out.

    And let us not forget that 1/3rd goes to the attorneys.
  18. schumionbike
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    schumionbike New Member

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    Forget about $7 million, if these allegation are true, I wouldn't want to buy anything from B&H. Nobody have a clean record but this is pretty rediculous.
  19. epp_b
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    epp_b New Member

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    Hands up if anyone else thinks this was planned :er:
  20. benhasajeep
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    I don't think it was planned at least by the one cashier already working for them. The others may have been plants after the cashier sought an attorney.

    But, I believe that they are discrimanated against. I have been comming to Israel for 7 years now for my compnay. This is how strict MALE operated relegious people run their businesses. Men do the sales and important jobs (Jewish or Arab). Women and other ethinic groups get the low pay service jobs. Even the ethnic Jewish Males get the shaft on job choices. This is not everwhere just the more strict run stores. I have been to 5 camera shops here in Tel Aviv in the last month, 2 of them very large. I have yet to see a woman in them either (as an employee). I have seen shops with women sales but these were all womens clothing stores. But at the electronic stores, hardware store (they have ACE here), Office Depot, and mall shops, all the sales people are males!

    I have not been to B+H and can't say one way or another about them. But they are extremely similar in their store practices as strict Jewish establishments. Which tends to make me believe the complaint. Especially after learing of the previous lawsuit. The article does state in one area there were 75 men and 1 woman but does not elaborate on the positions. Even if that 1 woman was in sales with the 75 men they are still in deep dodo. Being a private run business or not. They still have to obide by US law against discrimination! Once a business reaches a certain size it becomes harder to discriminate (at least the way the laws are written). And with 800-900 employees they are definately in the top tier!
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