Press Release

Press Release Check Cashing Company Agrees to Train Managers, Pay Nearly $12,000 to Resolve Allegations of Racial Discrimination

For immediate release:
8/14/2018
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for Check Cashing Company Agrees to Train Managers, Pay Nearly $12,000 to Resolve Allegations of Racial Discrimination

Chloe Gotsis

BostonA national check cashing company will have its anti-discrimination policies reviewed, train its staff and pay nearly $12,000 to resolve allegations that a manager discriminated against a former employee because of his race, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today. 

The settlement agreement between PLS Financial Services of Massachusetts, Inc. (PLS) and AG Healey’s Office resolves a complaint filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD).

In its complaint, the AG’s Office alleges that a manager at PLS’ Mattapan store violated state and federal civil rights laws by refusing to allow an African American employee to work his scheduled shift, refusing to allow him to return to his job, and ultimately terminating him because he did not conform to a discriminatory personal grooming standard.

“This employee should never have been disciplined or lost his job,” AG Healey said. “We urge businesses to take proactive steps to train their managers and remove racially discriminatory policies.”

According to the AG’s complaint, in August 2016, a recently hired African American employee at PLS’ Mattapan store dyed his hair from black to blonde. His manager had previously stated during his interview process that PLS would allow him to dye his hair so long as he chose a “natural” color.

Upon arriving at work after dying his hair, the victim was allegedly told by his manager that he could not work his scheduled shift with blonde hair because the dye was not in her opinion a natural color for someone who is African American. The employee ultimately was not allowed to return to work for a number of days while he attempted, unsuccessfully, to contact his manager, including after he offered to dye his hair again. He later learned from human resources that he had been terminated.

According to the terms of the settlement, PLS will pay $11,750 to settle the AG’s allegations, $10,000 of which will go to the victim. PLS is also required to submit its anti-discrimination, diversity and inclusion, and dress or personal grooming-related policies that pertain to its Massachusetts employees to the AG’s Civil Rights Division for review.

As part of the settlement, PLS will also pay for all Massachusetts store managers to attend a comprehensive antidiscrimination training conducted by MCAD.

State and federal laws make it unlawful for an employer to treat similarly situated employees differently solely because of their race, including applying different grooming policies to employees of different races, or applying the same policy inconsistently based on race.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Genevieve Nadeau, Chief of AG Healey’s Civil Rights Division with assistance from Paralegal Thayse Mendonca, also of AG Healey’s Civil Rights Division.

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Media Contact for Check Cashing Company Agrees to Train Managers, Pay Nearly $12,000 to Resolve Allegations of Racial Discrimination

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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