Food Service Giant Sued Over ‘White-Men-Need-Not-Apply’ Program

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from The Epoch Times:

A former employee of a large food service corporation is suing the company in federal court after it fired her for refusing to participate in a program that discriminates against white male employees.

Courtney Rogers worked for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Compass Group USA Inc. from her home office in San Diego, California.

The company had more than 280,000 employees and $20.1 billion in revenue in 2019, according to its LinkedIn profile. One of the world’s largest employers, the company has thousands of employees in California and counts among its clients Dodger Stadium, San Francisco International Airport, Uber, Snapchat, Netflix, Disney Studios, and NBC Universal.

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The company has won recognition for promoting so-called diversity, including appearing on the Forbes list of Best Employers for Diversity from 2018 through 2022.

Its corporate parent, U.K.-based Compass Group PLC, had $32.2 billion in revenue in 2019.

Ms. Rogers was hired in August 2021 and given the job title of “Recruiter, Internal Mobility Team.”

Her responsibilities included the processing of internal promotions, which encompassed posting job listings, reviewing applications, conducting interviews, writing and sending offer letters, carrying out background checks, ordering drug tests, initiating and reviewing onboarding, and ensuring that personnel updates were reflected in the system.

Compass created a program it called “Operation Equity” in March 2022, a purported diversity program that offered qualified employees special training and mentorship and the promise of a promotion upon graduation, according to the legal complaint that was filed in Rogers v. Compass Group USA Inc.

The lawsuit was filed on July 24 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California under the auspices of the Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm headquartered in Chicago that organized the legal action.

But participation in the program was restricted to “women and people of color.” White men were not allowed to participate and receive the associated benefits of training, mentorship, and guaranteed promotion.

By calling it “Operation Equity,” the company “used a euphemistic and false title to hide the program’s true nature.” The program would more accurately be called the “White-Men-Need-Not-Apply” program because it is an example of “‘outright racial balancing,’ which is patently unlawful,” and is the kind of program “promoted by people … who harbor racial animus against white men,” according to the legal complaint.

Ms. Rogers claims she informed management that high-level employees said of the program, “This is the direction the world is going, jump on the train or get run over,” and “We are not here to appease the old white man.”

Ms. Rogers claims she also informed management that the program was illegal and requested that she be allowed an accommodation because the program “violated her ethical beliefs.” Management assured her she would be exempted from participating in it and that she would not be retaliated against for sharing her concerns with management.

Ms. Rogers claims she was fired in November 2022 after she refused to participate in the program that discriminated on the basis of race and sex, even though she received positive performance feedback from supervisors and colleagues. The stated reason for termination was “failure to perform job duties,” the legal complaint stated.

In the lawsuit, Ms. Rogers is seeking relief for religious discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, as well as wrongful termination.

An attorney for Ms. Rogers, Robert Weisenburger of LiMandri and Jonna in Rancho Santa Fe, California, told The Epoch Times in an interview that his client’s personal, religious beliefs as a Christian prevented her from being part of “Operation Equity.”

She believes that “everyone is created equal,” and she, therefore, “could not in good faith be a part of implementing a program that would discriminate against people on the basis of race and color,” said Mr. Weisenburger, who is also a special counsel at the Thomas More Society.

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