ugg boot care kit Stray Rescue discriminated against black employee
The suit says Gray was denied a position specializing in feral dogs as well as a position as a lead caregiver, but Grim and Caldwell promoted three white women who had less experience than him to lead caregiver in June 2015. Gray is black. Grim and Caldwell are white.
Caldwell could not immediately be reached, and Grim was not available Tuesday, according to Weng Horak, the organization’s chief financial officer.
“We got notice from our attorney about the lawsuit, but we have not received the lawsuit,” Horak said. “We have no comment on this at this time, other than we deny any improper conduct and we will vigorously defend Stray Rescue against these allegations.”
Stray Rescue was founded by Grim in 1998. It received nearly $2.4 million in contributions and grants in 2014, according to tax documents. That year, the organization reported employing 99 people in full or part time capacity, in addition to 500 volunteers.
The group works with the city, doing after hours pickups of strays and handling adoptions in return for a cut of adoption fees. The city and nonprofit are in negotiations over a plan to take on many of the functions currently handled by the Animal Care and Control department.
Gray said he started working for Stray Rescue in January 2012 as a part time caregiver and became a full time caregiver in May 2013, and specialized in socializing and domesticating feral dogs and cats.
In the lawsuit, Gray said he complained to Caldwell about the unfairness of promoting three white women with less experience than him. He then met with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Aug. 25, 2015.
Two days later, Caldwell confronted Gray in her office about his contact with the employment rights agency, during which time Gray told her there was too much “white privilege” at the nonprofit, according to the lawsuit. Four days later, Gray was fired,
according to the lawsuit.
In his termination letter, the nonprofit said it finished its investigation into “numerous allegations of misconduct,” against Gray, including “attempting to sell controlled substances,” according to the lawsuit.
Gray said he was never informed that he was the subject of any investigation and alleges that Grim “often” offered him marijuana while he was working for Stray Rescue, according to the lawsuit, which also says Grim invited Gray to smoke marijuana inside his car while in the parking lot of Stray Rescue.
“Defendants have engaged in a pattern of tolerating if not openly condoning a pervasive culture of drug use at Stray Rescue,” according to the lawsuit.
White employees were “openly known to use and sell drugs without consequence,” according to the lawsuit.
Gray also accused Grim of sexually harassing and soliciting male employees, but that the nonprofit settles such claims to “protect Grim instead of its employees from his misconduct,” according to the suit.
In May 2016, the organization’s former executive director, Stephanie Huth, filed a lawsuit alleging she was discriminated against by Grim, and that he made “offensive sexual remarks” in front of Huth while lobbing expletives and insults. That lawsuit was settled in January for an undisclosed amount, according to Gray’s lawsuit.
Huth’s attorney, Benjamin Westhoff, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Caldwell replaced Huth as executive director.
Gray’s lawsuit also accuses Grim of once telling Gray he would be allowed to join other employees at Blues games after he cut off his dreadlocks.
Other employees frequently used racist epithets in his presence and asked Gray to join them as their “token” during activities, according to the lawsuit.