Race & Identity
Former Marriott Sales Exec Sues For Racial Discrimination, Claims He Was Forced To Dance And Compared To Buckwheat
He was on the job for less than a year.
A former Marriott sales executive is suing the hospitality giant for racial discrimination.
Daryl Robinson filed the lawsuit with the Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, reports NBC4. He is suing for unlawful race discrimination, unlawful race harassment, failure to prevent race discrimination and harassment and retaliation for opposing forbidden practices. It is unclear how much he is seeking in damages.
Robinson leveled several shocking accusations at his former colleagues.
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He joined the company to sell timeshares in February 2017. He alleges the office he was promised following training turned out to be a converted storage closet. Robinson says some of his coworkers questioned if his seating assignment was racially motivated.
Court documents also claim a sales director asked the 20-year sales veteran to dance to a Michael Jackson song during a meeting. Initially, Robinson acquiesced.
"Admittedly, one time, he did get up and dance," John Dalton, his attorney, told NBC News. "There were a number of times he was asked, and he was like, 'No, no thanks.' And when he did get up, he was the new guy. He didn’t want to make waves."
Robinson was also apparently singled out when the same sales director complimented their “good-looking crew.” The Black salesman claims he couldn’t enjoy the praise because the person followed the comment with “Daryl looks ready to breakdance."
When his coworkers laughed at the comment, Robinson was “completely humiliated, dejected and felt completely defeated,” according to the lawsuit.
The humiliation allegedly continued when a sales manager created a baby picture game for a team-building exercise.
When the woman asked Robinson for a picture, he told her he didn’t have one because they were all out-of-state at his mother’s house. Additionally, he thought submitting a photo would be silly since he was the only Black person in the office. The manager didn’t accept his explanation and told him she would use a picture of Buckwheat, a Black character from The Little Rascals, if Robinson didn’t comply.
Robinson claims he told her he is offended by the character because Buckwheat is commonly used to make fun of Black people. The manager then reportedly used a picture of Buckwheat during the meeting the following morning. Robinson left the meeting, and two of his supervisors apologized while he was walking away, according to the lawsuit.
The work environment made Robinson so anxious he eventually had to take medical leave. He resigned in January.
Marriott spokesman Ed Kinney refused to comment on the case.
"We are aware of the allegations of this suit but as a policy, do not comment on legal issues and matters,” Kinney said.
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