A former employee of financial powerhouse American Express has filed a lawsuit against his former company alleging he was terminated because he is white and because he said he opposed as racist the corporate “diversity” policy of increasing the number of non-white staffers.
Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who has published a great deal of research involving the corporate spread of “critical race theory” policies, wrote on Twitter that the former AmEx employee, Brian Netzel, was inspired to file suit based on his reporting.
In a post announcing the lawsuit, Rufo also posted screengrabs of a letter to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission office in Phoenix from Netzel through his attorney’s office announcing the action.
“Following my reporting on American Express Corporation’s race reeducation program, former employee Brian Netzel has initiated a lawsuit against the company, alleging that he was fired for voicing opposition to critical race theory in the workplace,” Rufo wrote, adding: “Game on!”
BREAKING: Following my reporting on American Express Corporation's race reeducation program, former employee Brian Netzel has initiated a lawsuit against the company, alleging that he was fired for voicing opposition to critical race theory in the workplace.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) September 3, 2021
The document screenshots Rufo posted include the letterhead of the Pivtorak Law Firm, whose principal attorney is listed as Daniel Pivtorak. The letter indicates that Netzel is alleging his firing was due to discrimination.
In the letter, Netzel says he was “unceremoniously terminated” on Oct. 30, 2020, because of a companywide policy that “rewarded company executives for making their departments less ‘white.'”
Previously, he said he worked his way up to a mid-level position from sales over the course of several years, never having received a bad evaluation nor any disciplinary actions for “violations of company policy.”
“My termination was the direct result of me being an older white male, a demographic the company specifically sought to reduce in managerial positions like my own, and in direct retaliation for my stated opposition to AmEx’s racially discriminatory and hostile policies,” the letter states.
Netzel alleges that nearing the end of his employment, the company’s policies towards downgrading white employees while hiring and promoting non-whites became more aggressive. He said company executives announced diversity hiring and promotion policies “without any explanation or reassurance” that AmEx would still adhere to federal and state anti-discrimination statutes “in achieving its objective.”
“AmEx also told its employees it was it was undertaking an examination of employee pay plans to ensure racial ‘parity,'” the letter continued, though a company executive allegedly had already announced the company had conducted a pay review and had not found any significant racial disparities.
Netzel also explained in his letter that the company forced employees to participate in “racialized” discussions amongst themselves without any regard as to how such activities would impact interoperability and office relations. He said the training clearly sought to convey a message that the United States has always been and remains today “systemically racist” and that employees should view each other in terms of race “first and foremost.”
He also recounted a diversity “training” course put on for employees by Khalil Muhammad, the great-grandson of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad, whose message echoed the company’s claims of the country being inherently racist.
There were also “numerous trainings that instructed white employees on how to interact with black employees,” the letter stated. “The trainings instructed white employees to defer to their black co-workers for no reason other than race.”
Netzel alleges that AmEx violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states, in part, that no person can be discharged from employment due to “such individual’s race.”
“The protections are accorded to employees of any race,” the letter adds.
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