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The cook says she was discriminated against for her accent and Asian-American heritage.
She also claims her supervisor favored African-American employees, offering them more promotions and overtime hours. She was eventually fired because she “allegedly gave away a slice of a customer’s birthday cake to another employee…” She claims it was really because she reported discrimination.
Ba Ly, the plaintiff, worked as a cook for Sugarhouse Casino starting in 2010, she was promoted twice, earning the title of “Cook III” in 2014. According to the complaint she was well qualified for her position and performed well.
Unfortunately, her supervisor, one Amber Harris, did not appreciate Ly’s hard work, and would often berate her for having an accent.
“You can’t speak right,” and “You speak broken English,” are just some of things Ly says Harris said to her while working in the kitchen. Harris went so far as to share Ly’s training test scores with other employees in order to humiliate her, according to the complaint.
Ly was fed up when Harris began submitting bogus disciplinary reports for alleged insubordination, so she went to her human resources manager, who told her Harris was probably just joking around. Ly suspects nothing was ultimately done by HR to correct the behaviors.
In the complaint, Ly also points to disproportionate raises as evidence for discrimination.
“After being placed under Ms. Harris’ supervision, [Ly’s] annual raises diminished drastically. [Ly] was given a $1.25 and $0.75 hourly raise under [her previous supervisor], but received $0.20-$0.25 hourly raises under Ms. Harris. By contrast, African-American Cook IIIs such as [Deborah, Simone and Matt] received approximately $1.00 hourly raises under Ms. Harris,” according to the complaint.
Ly says her performance was “better or on par with Deborah, Simone and Matt.”
She says African-American employees were offered up two five hours of overtime per week, while she was only offered one. Additionally, she says African-American employees were promoted to Chef III mere months after starting, despite it taking her over three years to reach that position.
Ly says that she was continuing to receive bogus disciplinary write-ups from Harris as retaliation for her complaints, all while Harris refused to discipline African-American employees for having knife-fights at work.
Harris eventually went so far as to accuse Ly of stealing a slice of a customer’s birthday cake as a pretext to fire her in 2015.
Ly is represented by David M. Koller, and is now suing her former employer in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on six counts, all employment discrimination and retaliation. Judge Anita B. Brody is presiding.
The casino did not return a call requesting comment.