Former white employee sues Atlanta Hawks for racism and sexism

She professes she worked in a hostile environment where jokes about “white culture” were made.

Atlanta Hawks
(Courtesy of LinkedIN and Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Margo Kline, a former white employee of the Atlanta Hawks filed a lawsuit on Friday accusing the NBA franchise’s external affairs director, David Lee, of discrimination against white workers, in particularly white women.

According to the NY Post, Kline, who worked for the company for five years, insists that Lee, who is Black, created a hostile environment by making jokes about “white culture” and being dismissive towards white employees, especially about their concerns.

She says that when she finally complained, the organization did not support her or try to attempt to find a solution. Instead, she says they criticized, ridiculed, and gossiped about her to other workers. Kline claims that other white employees were instructed to ignore her and to stop speaking to her directly.

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The lawsuit also states, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, that Lee often hired less-qualities Black employees over white people.

The Hawks’ released an official statement to the AJC denying all claims.

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“We take all claims of discrimination seriously and have performed a thorough review of these baseless claims,” the statement reads. “The case was quickly dismissed at the EEOC level. We deny these claims and will vigorously defend against them.”

The statement goes on to make reference to the employment discrimination charge that Kline filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissiona year prior to her termination.

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In March 2017, Kline was fired after receiving a final warning letter about her conduct and performance. Her lawsuit insists that she had never received any warnings or negative remarks about her work ethic until she filed her original complaint. 

Kline says she asked for ways to improve her work, but was not given any pointers or suggestions. She is seeking punitive damages and a trial jury.