Three more plaintiffs have joined a class-action lawsuit filed in August alleging American Express subjected White employees to “racially discriminatory” policies that fostered a hostile work environment.
“Since the filing of this lawsuit, my firm has been inundated with calls from former and current Amex employees from across the country who read the allegations in the complaint and could not believe how accurately they described their own experiences with the company,” Atty. David Pivtorak told FOX Business.
On August 23, Pivtorak filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of former Amex employee Brian Netzel and potentially thousands of other similar employees after what the complaint described as “an avalanche of bad things that came to white people at that company when George Floyd was killed . “
The lawsuit alleges that Amex implemented “anti-racism”[ads1]; policies throughout the company’s structure in the wake of Floyd’s death that “gave preferential treatment to individuals for being black and unequivocally signaled to white employees that their race was an obstacle to advancement within the company.” “
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In an amended complaint, three new class representative plaintiffs allege discrimination similar to what Netzel described.
Netzel told FOX Business when his complaint was filed that Amex’s racial policies flooded the workplace with “a tremendous amount of hostility.” He alleged that white employees were unfairly penalized or passed over for promotions, while some black employees were promoted simply to meet racial quotas, and that some felt empowered to “root out McCarthy-era fashionistas who did not agree with this general philosophy .”
In his original complaint, Netzel alleged that his female manager, who is Black, would “aggressively harass and berate white employees” and that Amex was not only aware of her behavior but provided financial incentives to managers to reduce the number of white employees.
One of the new plaintiffs, who lives in a different city than the original plaintiff, claims to have been subjected to racial harassment and discrimination from the same manager. Another claims to have been harassed and denied a promotion on racial grounds by another manager. All three new plaintiffs say they were forced to resign from well-paid positions at the company to escape the racially toxic environment.
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“It’s hard to put into words how racially toxic that work environment must have been, from top to bottom, where you can just hear it in these people’s voices. I just hope more employees come forward to challenge these abhorrent practices, because it is so, we will eventually bring the wrongdoers to justice, said lawyer Pivortak.
Amex did not comment on the amended complaint, but denied the allegations in the original lawsuit, with a spokesperson telling FOX Business at the time: “The allegations made about our company in the lawsuit are false and without merit. We have a longstanding commitment to to live by the company’s values which include promoting a diverse and inclusive culture where all colleagues can thrive.”
“Promotion, employment and compensation at our company are based solely on individual qualifications, business and leadership performance. Any claim to the contrary is false and we do not incentivize behavior that discriminates against or favors any group of employees,” the spokesperson added .
Amex has faced accusations of discrimination in the past. Nick Williams, a white man who served eight years as head of business development at Amex until he was suddenly let go in March 2021, turned down a six-figure settlement offer after refusing to sign papers barring him from speaking out against the credit card behemoth.
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In 2021, five current and former employees told FOX Business on condition of anonymity that the company engaged in “reverse discrimination” against white employees and imbued the workplace with the tenets of critical race theory. Amex categorically denied the allegations at the time.