Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York City is a crucible of un-pretty human emotions and interactions. And now one of the stars of the cast, Cindy Barshop, has been hit with a racial discrimination lawsuit. Barshop is an entrepreneur who owns Completely Bare spas. Altovise Collier, one of her employees (and also a costar on Real Housewives), has leveled accusations that “she was tormented [at work] and then wrongfully terminated because she is black.”
Reality TV Magazine summarized the situation this way: “Collier says that Barshop underpaid her, only giving her half the $700 a week salary and paying her in cash. Without a paystub, Altovise claims that she was unable to lease or rent an apartment, leaving her to rely on friends who let her sleep on their couches.” Collier also claimed that the employees at Completely Bare joked that she had been hired simply to “inject some color” into the staff and was essentially hazed “like I was in some sort of sorority.” Collier approached Barshop about the alleged mistreatment; one week later, she was fired. The mom of two has so far denied Ms. Collier’s claims and insists that she fired the aesthetician “because of the quality of her work.”
As is often the case in heated battles over allegations of sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and hour violations, and retaliation, this debate boils down to a “he said, she said” type argument. If you or a coworker or a family member has been mistreated at work – whether you work at a fancy restaurant, beauty parlor, or machining shop – the more evidence you can collect and protect, the better.
For instance, say someone sent you a harassing email: print out that email and store it in a safe place – like your home safe deposit box. Or, say a coworker made harassing comments to you: write down exactly what that person said, including the context, location, etc. The longer you wait to record eyewitness testimony or your own recollections of an event, the more difficult it may be to use that evidence to leverage compensation and justice.
It may also behoove you to connect with an experienced employment lawyer. The team at Joseph & Kirschenbaum, LLP can provide a free and confidential case evaluation. Call the firm at (212) 688-5640, or learn more about your potential options at www.jhllp.com.