Society

Jamilah DaCosta of Queens, NY Denied Job Application at Bakery Because She's Black

| by Dominic Kelly

A bakery in Queens, NY has been fined $25,000 for telling a woman that they can’t hire her because she’s black.

25-year-old Jamilah DaCosta, of Rego Park, saw a Craigslist ad for a job opening at Framboise Patisserie in Middle Village, Queens. She went to the store to apply, only to be turned down for being black.

DaCosta, who is of Jamaican and Lebanese descent, adds that co-owner Patty Meimetea interviewed her, questioning DaCosta’s nationality repeatedly, and stated that her husband would never allow DaCosta to work there, but said if there was an opening for a kitchen position where she could stay in the back and would not be seen by customers, she would hire her.

“I felt hurt. I was disgusted,” DaCosta said to the New York Daily News. “Before I could even pull out my resume or start a formal interview, she was telling me all this negative stuff; she couldn’t hire me because I was black, I would scare away her customers.”

“They’re not judging me on my personality, but my skin color,” adds DaCosta. “What century are we living in? I thought I had thick skin, I thought I could withstand anything, but it just completely broke me down.”

Husband and wife owners AJ Saputhanthri and Patty Meimetea have denied the allegations, saying that they “respect everybody.” Still, an investigation and trial conducted by the Human Rights Commission found that DaCosta’s allegation was completely credible, and has now fined the bakery a $25,000 penalty. DaCosta herself will receive $10,000 in damages, and the remaining $15,000 is for discrimination charges.

“Respondents’ actions were blatant violations,” wrote the Human Rights Commission in its decision. “Meimetea’s statements to Ms. DaCosta were cruelly and flagrantly bigoted and demeaning.”