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James Tarquin, P.A
As part of our commitment to assist and educate employees in fighting back against the abusive employment practices of employers, we offer a broad range of information about employment law issues in our employment blog.

Can Employers Fire Employees In Order To Replace Them With An Employee Of A Different Race?

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For more than twenty years, our race discrimination lawyers in Citrus County, Florida have fought for the rights of racial discrimination victims. Having decades of experience handling race discrimination claims, our race discrimination attorneys in Inverness, Florida know that many employees are targeted for termination because their employer wants to replace them with an employee of a different race. For example, an employer may desire to replace a worker with an employee of a different race in order to change the racial composition of the workplace or to satisfy the discriminatory racial preferences of its customers. In this article, our race discrimination lawyers in Citrus County, Florida explain how the decision in Moore v. Hadestown Broadway, LLC, 2024 WL 989843 (S.D. N.Y. March 7, 2024) shows that firing an employee in order to replace the employee with a worker of a different race is a form of race discrimination prohibited by federal employment discrimination law.

Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

In that case, a woman named Moore brought a race discrimination claim against her former employer, Hadestown Broadway, LLC (“Hadestown”), pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). Title VII protects employees from racial discrimination in the workplace. Moore, who is African-American, claims that she was fired because of her race in violation of Title VII.

Moore works as an actress. Hadestown is a company that produces and stages “Hadestown,” a musical that runs on Broadway (the “Musical”). In January 2020, Hadestown hired Moore to perform as an actress in its production of the Musical. Moore played the role of “Worker #1” as part of the Musical’s “Workers Chorus,” as well as other parts in the Musical. In the Musical, the Workers Chorus consists of several actors who perform their roles as “Workers” within the Workers Chorus.

As of November 2021, the Workers Chorus consisted exclusively of African-American cast members, including Moore. As a result, on November 23, 2021, a choreographer and supervisor for Hadestown, Neumann, emailed the entire case of the Musical to allegedly apologize for the fact that the Musical was conveying a “white savior story” due to the exclusively African-American Workers Chorus.

In his email, Neumann stated that he and the director of the Musical were “commit[ted] to open dialogue regarding the ongoing casting decisions and ramifications of what that looks like in our particular story.” Neumann noted that “certain arrangements of actors on stage (a white Orpheus, a white Hades, and a Worker Chorus of all Black performers)” may have told “an unintended and harmful ‘white savior’ story.” Neumann wrote that although he and the director did not “view Orpheus as a white savior” in the Musical and the “text of Hadestown may not speak about race,” the particular arrangement of the Hadestown cast on stage had nonetheless expressed a “white savior story” because the actors are the Musical’s “storytellers” who “become the story” on stage each performance through their selves, voices, and bodies.

Replaced By Worker Of A Different Race

In response to Neumann’s email, Moore complained to human resources regarding discrimination that she and other cast members in the Workers Chorus faced on the basis of their race. Other African-American actors in the Workers Chorus, according to Moore, separately complained to Hadestown about the racial discrimination they perceived in the Musical.

On or about November 24, 2021—the day after Neumann emailed the entire cast of the Musical to apologize for the Musical’s “white savior story”—a supervisor for the Musical allegedly informed Moore that Hadestown was seeking to replace her in the cast with a white woman. That day, Moore lodged a second complaint about the racial discrimination she faced from Hadestown. Moore made the second complaint to her union representative.

On November 27, 2021, Moore claims that she was informed by a senior manager that Hadestown would soon terminate her employment. The following day, Neumann sent an email only to the African-American cast members of the Musical indicating that Hadestown was now seeking to avoid having the Workers Chorus consist solely of African-American cast members. Three days after Neumann sent his email, the director of the Musical allegedly indicated to Hadestown employees that, in furtherance of Hadestown’s goal to avoid an entirely African-American Workers Chorus, the director had hired a white actor to replace Moore in the Workers Chorus. The following day, according to Moore, a stage manager stated in an email to Hadestown employees that “there [were] too many Black people on stage.”

On December 5, 2021, Hadestown terminated Moore’s employment. On December 7, 2021, according to Moore, a white actress replaced her in the role of Worker #1.

Evidence Of Race Discrimination

Hadestown filed a motion with the trial court seeking dismissal of Moore’s discrimination claim. In denying Hadestown’s motion for dismissal and finding that Moore’s allegations were sufficient to plausibly establish that Hadestown was “at least partially motivated by discriminatory intent when it terminated [Moore’s] employment,” the trial court focused on Moore’s allegations that she was fired because Hadestown wanted to replace her with a white actress.

The trial court observed that Moore alleges that the director and stage manager of the Musical “had separately indicated to staff members in the two weeks prior to [Moore’s] termination that [Hadestown] was seeking to hire a white actress to replace [Moore] in the cast.” The trial court also pointed out Moore’s allegations “create a plausible inference that after members of [Hadestown’s] leadership became worried in late November 2021 that the all-black Workers Chorus was conveying a white savior message that they did not want the Musical to convey, [Hadestown] sought to replace [Moore] with a white actress to change composition of the Workers Chorus and end the unintended white savior message.” In other words, the trial court reasoned, such a sequence of events “implies that [Moore’s] termination was based on her race and [Hadestown’s] desire to replace her with a white actress.” Finally, the trial court noted that Moore claims that Hadestown hired a white actress to replace her as Worker #1 two days after it fired Moore.

Free Consultation For Discrimination Victims

One of the most important decisions racial discrimination victims must make is which employment law attorneys to consult with regarding their rights under federal employment discrimination law. As part of our dedication to helping racial discrimination victims, an experienced employment law attorney will speak with you personally and you will receive the individualized attention your case deserves. We offer free confidential case evaluations for employees, and you will not have to pay to speak with our employment attorneys regarding your rights. We are available for consultation at your convenience, including scheduling telephone consultations for evenings and weekends.

Citrus County Race Discrimination Lawyers

Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Florida, our race discrimination attorneys in Citrus County, Florida have litigated race discrimination cases in Florida courts for more than twenty years. If you have experienced racial discrimination at work or have questions about your protection from racial discrimination under federal employment discrimination law, please contact our office for a free consultation with our race discrimination lawyers in Citrus County, Florida. Our employee rights law firm takes race discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.

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