Shoe Store Settles on Ethnic Discrimination Charge

January 6, 2006 ( - Bally North America Inc., a luxury shoe retailer, has agreed to a $200,000 payment to a former Taiwanese employee who said she suffered ethnic and racial hostility at her workplace.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which filed the lawsuit on the employee’s behalf, alleged that the employee had been wrongly fired after suffering repeated racial and ethnic insults.

According to the EEOC, after Wang’s superiors at Bally’s accused her of racial bias, she protested and asked the company to conduct an inquiry to clear her name. The Star-Bulletin said the EEOC alleged that the company declined to take action and Wang became the subject of ethnic and racial hostility.

The EEOC said a Caucasian supervisor derided Wang’s ethnicity, calling her a “sneaky little Chinese woman” and saying she ran the fancy boutique like a “little Chinese grocery store.” The supervisor also raised negative stereotypes by deriding Wang’s English writing and saying Wang should be able to work more than 70 hours per week because she was “young and Chinese.”

In addition to the payment, Bally agreed to institute training for all employees and adopt a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination. The company admitted to no wrongdoing.