According to NBC News, A former sales executive for Marriott Vacations Worldwide alleges in a lawsuit that he was told to dance during meetings as entertainment for other employees and a photo of the character Buckwheat was used to represent him during a team building exercise.
Daryl Robinson is suing for unlawful race discrimination, unlawful race harassment, failure to prevent race discrimination and harassment and retaliation for opposing forbidden practices.
In Febuary 2017 Robinson began working as a sales executive with Marriott selling timeshares to vacation properties, he was the only Black employee in the office.
In the suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, Robinson alleges that he was asked on multiple occasions to dance by a director of sales during sales meetings, usually to music by Michael Jackson.
On another occasion, the director of sales reportedly complimented most of the staff by saying “we have a good-looking crew” or related comments. The director of sales then looked at Robinson and allegedly said, “Daryl looks ready to breakdance.”
Robinson said his co-workers laughed at the remark and he was “completely humiliated, dejected and felt completely defeated.”
Robinson’s attorney, John Dalton, told NBC News on that Robinson was singled out and embarrassed while at his offices in California.
“Admittedly, one time, he did get up and dance,” Dalton said. “There were a number of times he was asked and he was like, ‘No, no thanks.’ And when he did get up, he was the new guy. He didn’t want to make waves.”
At another meeting, when Robinson did not submit a baby photo of himself to use for a team building exercise centered around how well employees knew one another, a colleague displayed a photo of “Little Rascals” character Buckwheat and asked the team: “Who do you guys think this is?”
According to Robinson he had informed his boss that he wouldn’t be able to bring in a baby picture. That’s when she allegedly said that she’d use a photo of Buckwheat instead.
He claims that he told her that the character was stereotypically racist, degrading to African-Americans and would be inappropriate and offensive to him if she used it but she did anyway.
That incident brought hum to tears hand his colleges did apologize.
Robinson’s doctor reportedly put him on a medical leave because of his anxiety, his attorney said. Robinson resigned from the company on Jan. 1, 2018.
Marriott Vacations Worldwide spokesman Ed Kinney told NBC News: “We are aware of the allegations of this suit but as a policy, do not comment on legal issues and matters.”
Robinson is reportedly seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, according to the suit.