American Express is facing a lawsuit from a former employee who claims that the company disregarded civil rights laws and fired him because he is white and opposed “racially discriminatory” policies.
The lawsuit claims that in 2020 amid nationwide racial tension, the company instituted “anti-racism” policies that discriminated against white employees on the basis of their race, according to a report from FOX Business.
Brian Netzel, the former American Express employee who is suing the company, claims in the class-action lawsuit that the “anti-racism” policies “gave preferential treatment to individuals for being Black and unambiguously signaled to White employees that their race was an impediment to getting ahead in the company.”
Perhaps most startling, the lawsuit alleges that “executives were given financial incentives that accounted for at least 15% of their annual bonus to decrease the percentage of White employees in their departments.”
Additionally, the lawsuit claims that “race became the dominant factor for individual hiring and promotion decisions” after Stephen Squeri became the CEO in 2018. “AmEx’s racial engineering policies became exponentially more aggressive and overt after the death of George Floyd in May 2020 with AmEx’s ‘anti-racism initiative,’” the lawsuit alleges.
It also claims that “Squeri began subjecting all AmEx employees to frequent, racially charged ‘town halls’ where he decried America and his own company as ‘systemically racist.”
Netzel contended that the “anti-racism” policies created a workplace marred by “a tremendous amount of animosity” against white people. The former employee also specifically claimed that his manager would “aggressively harass and berate white employees” and that she was one of the executives that received a financial incentive to decrease the number of white employees in her department.
The allegation was denied by a spokesperson for American Express, who called the claims “false and without merit” and contended that no incentives for discrimination were offered to their executives.
Almost a year before news of this lawsuit broke, five former and current employees previously claimed that American Express discriminated against its white employees.
“I did everything I was supposed to do in terms of trainings and extra work. I was on committees, going out of my way to be helpful, being a leader on team calls and national calls,” one employee told FOX Business before adding “I saw the writing on the wall: There’s no way I can get promoted because of the color of my skin.”
On their “Inclusion and Diversity” website, American Express says that “In addition to focusing on the inclusion of all colleagues, we’ve committed to attract and develop underrepresented talent through targeted recruiting efforts and training programs.”
“We also host bi-annual forums to bring together our Black/African American and Hispanic/Latinx senior leaders for discussions and networking,” it continues.
It also notes, “We offer a year-long, multi-faceted mentorship program to our high-performing multicultural colleagues in the U.S.” The site does not define what a “multicultural colleague” is, though it does note that the program “enables a safe, encouraging environment for colleagues to have open conversations about career advancement.”
American Express recently received criticism from Consumers’ Research, who blasted the company for launching an “anti-racism initiative” rooted in Critical Race Theory. The initiative told white employees to “identify the privileges or advantages you have.”
Spencer Lindquist is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerLndqst and reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org