The case involved a foreign shipping company based in China, Dimerco Express, who allegedly only wanted a white hire for a sales position.
By 11Alive Staff
ATLANTA — A man was recently awarded more than $3 million in an employment discrimination case in which, his attorneys say, a company denied him a sales job because it wanted to cater to the “Caucasian market.”
The case involved a foreign shipping company based in China, Dimerco Express, who allegedly only wanted a white hire for a sales position. Kenny Faulk, a Black man, won a $3.39 million judgment in the case from a jury.
“They offered him the position. They gave him an offer letter. He signed and accepted the position. They negotiated a salary with them. It was only when the disorderly conduct came back and the president saw that he was a Black male, that they took the position away,” said Amanda Farahany, one of the attorneys representing Faulk.
Faulk said he applied for a job in September 2019 and assumed he wasn’t hired due to a previous misdemeanor charge for disorderly conduct. He said a former HR employee reached out to him in spring of 2021, claiming that wasn’t the case.
“A few weeks later there was a white man who had four misdemeanors on his background, and the president said, ‘hire him,'” the attorney said, referencing what the former employee told Faulk.
On Friday, Faulk and the attorneys spoke with 11Alive.
“I was shocked. I was hurt, and I’ll just be honest, I was angry at first,” said Faulk, as he recalled how he felt when he said the former HR employee reached out to him. “It was painful because I thought it was one reason, and I find out, it was a totally different reason. And it has nothing to do with anything I can do. I can’t change the color of my skin.”
This week, federal court documents show a jury delivered a verdict Thursday, in favor of Faulk.
Attorneys Farahany, Severin Roberts, Patrick Reid and Benjamin Rollins, with Barret & Farahany, represented Faulk in court this week. They said the jury recommended an award of $3.39 million.
“It was hard for me to stand up,” said Faulk when he recalled how he felt when he heard the verdict. “I came down to tears because I never knew this day was gonna come.”
On Friday, attorneys showed 11Alive evidence presented in court, where they said emails showed an employee warned executives its discriminatory to search for candidates based on race and age. Attorneys also showed evidence where the company said its “ideal” candidate is preferably white and between 26 and 40-years-old.
“She said, you can’t put this into writing because if you do and somebody sees this, we’re going to have a large verdict against us,” said Farahany. “And that was back in 2020. And they still continue to do it to this day…They knew that this was discrimination, and they knew that what they were doing was illegal and they chose to do it anyway.”
Faulk’s attorneys described what they said happened to Faulk as an example of “race-matching” or the discriminatory practice of trying to “match” a person’s race in filling a position to the target market or audience.
“This case is part of a troubling trend of overseas employers coming to Georgia and failing to respect the rights of workers to be treated fairly regardless of race or gender,” Faulk’s attorneys said in a release.
“It was my responsibility as a Black man to bring this case not just on my behalf, but to honor the struggles of all the Black men who came before me and fought to stand on equal footing,” Faulk said in a statement. “We can’t lose ground in the battle for civil rights.”
The original complaint alleged Faulk was offered an account executive job in September 2019, but that it was rescinded because the company found a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge on his record from five years earlier – only, the white person subsequently hired, according to the complain, “had more significant criminal charges on his record.”
An HR director asked the company president about the decision, according to the complaint, and was told “that the reason was he only wanted to hire whites and further justified his position stating that whites could get in the door with customers that minorities could not.”
“This case is at the front lines of a battle being waged in the courts not to let globalization turn back the clock,” Faulk’s attorneys said.
11Alive reached out to Dimerico Express for a statement in response to the jury’s findings. An attorney representing the company said it was a mischaracterization but did not send a formal statement.