HL Menken famously said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” That’s true not just of customers, but of corporate employees as well.
If I managed a gym and I was hiring somebody to do sales, I would care about how much experience they had, maybe how fit they looked, but I can’t imagine caring about the nationality or religion of the applicant. And this would especially true in a place like Fresno which is one of the most diverse counties in the state of California. Still, that’s just what one Bally’s in Fresno did – out and out discriminated against a Sikh man:
Sukdev “Devin” Singh Dhaliwal applied for a sales job with one of Bally’s five Fresno fitness centers in 2004. An interviewer quizzed Dhaliwal, who was born and raised in California, about his religious and ethnic background, and then denied him a job and hired non-Sikh, non-Indian applicants with less experience, according to the commission.
“He was basically asked where he was born, where his parents were born, what religion he subscribed to and whether he was a Muslim,” said EEOC program analyst Linda Li. “He’s very American.” [Link]
Why bring up news from almost 3 years ago today? Because it took that long for Bally’s to face justice and … lose:
Under the consent decree approved by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White, Bally must pay Dhaliwal $24,000 in damages and provide training in equal opportunity hiring practices to managers at its Fresno locations. Dhaliwal said he plans to donate some of the money to his alma mater, California State University, Fresno, where a business law professor steered him to the EEOC after hearing about the interview. [Link]
It’s not a lot of money, but it should send a message. Sadly, it’s a message that still needs sending.