On Wednesday, April 13, 2022, Wigdor LLP filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Afresh Technologies, Inc., a company that purports to revolutionize the grocery store industry through the use of its proprietary technology, on behalf of Jenna Wills in connection with claims of race discrimination and retaliation.
As alleged, in mid-2021 Afresh recruited Ms. Wills, a Black woman, to lead its People Department. As the only Black employee in a leadership position, from the outset she was subjected to biased hostility and marginalization, with white employees questioning her abilities before even working with her, white management rejecting her ideas but lauding the very same ideas when proposed by white employees, labeling her as “scary,” and otherwise setting her up to fail, as alleged. Horrifically, Ms. Wills was fired after she spoke up about having Afresh’s employees undergo training on unconscious bias and after she proposed during a company-wide meeting that Afresh hire more people of color because not a single one of its C-Suite employees nor its 73 technical employees identified as Black or Hispanic, as set forth in the EEOC Charge. The allegations also include details of discrimination about other Black employees at Afresh, including allegations that Black men systematically were not hired because of a lack in communication skills.
Statement from Douglas H. Wigdor and Renan F. Varghese:
“Afresh is a tech startup that sold itself to the public by claiming that its proprietary techniques could help people in their everyday lives. But there is nothing beneficial about rampant racial discrimination that denies people of color a level playing field in the workplace. We are honored to represent Ms. Wills and are confident that Afresh will be held accountable.”
Statement from Jenna Wills:
“I hope by coming forward that I can drive meaningful change in an industry where it is long overdue. Companies that falsely market to the public that they value diversity must be called out.”