A former employee at Versace’s Livermore outlet store in East Bay has sued after being fired , alleging racial discrimination against him and black customers who visited the Versace USA store.

In his lawsuit, former employee Christopher Sampino alleges that during his second shift at the San Francisco Premium Outlets store, he was told by a training manager to hold up a black article of clothing when an African-American person entered the store. In addition, the employees were trained to casually announce a special code, “D410,” when an African-American entered the store, the 23-year-old alleges. The “D410” tag is on the company’s all-black clothing, Sampino alleges. Sampino alleges that after he asked the training manager if the boss knew Sampino was African-American, he was not given rest breaks or proper training on how to access his paystubs on an online database.

Sampino worked in the store for two weeks before his managers terminated him because he didn’t “understand luxury”, hadn’t “lived the luxury life,” and because of his performance, according to the suit Sampino is mixed race, including a quarter African-American. He believes he was really fired for his race, and alleges that he met or exceeded job performance expectations.

After he filed his lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court, Versace’s attorneys moved the suit to the U.S. District Court in San Francisco in mid-December. Sampino’s attorneys are seeking class action status, alleging that Versace has hundreds of employees who could join the lawsuit because they were not given meal and rest breaks and were required to work off the clockIn his lawsuit, Sampino alleges he was never paid for his last day of work, and was denied legally required meal and rest breaks. .

Sampino’s lawyers have said it will not be hard to prove that he was fired due to his race, given the Livermore store’s racist policies. Sampino’s attorneys also say that it is too early in the lawsuit to figure out whether the racist policies are just the policies of that store or if they are corporate-wide Versace policies.

A Versace representative says the company strongly believes in equal opportunity both as a retailer as well as an employer. The company denies the allegations.

Even though it’s now 2017, decades since the civil rights movement, race-based discrimination still happens at work and in retail settings.  Both California and federal laws make it illegal to racially discriminate in the workplace. In many cases, racial discrimination is subtle, but if an employee can prove an employer made employment decisions based on race, the employee can sue for damages. .

Because racial discrimination can be subtle, it can be very hard to pinpoint it when an employer has a racial basis for a termination, demotion, or refusal to hire a qualified person for a job. Unless the employer specifically admits a racial basis for their decision, it can be hard to prove racial discrimination.. In some cases, racial discrimination may can be proven by looking at a company’s hiring trends, or by proving a less-qualified person was hired or promoted to a position over a person of another race. Some employers may also implement hiring practices or workplace policies that have a negative effect on certain races. If the employer has no legitimate purpose for having such policies, then the policy or hiring practice could be considered racial discrimination.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against in the workplace because of your race, you should take steps to protect your legal rights. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that employees should be evaluated on their merits, not on their race. Call Micha Star Liberty, an Oakland employment discrimination attorney at 510-645-1000 if you believe you have been the victim of racial discrimination in the workplace to schedule a free consultation.

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