Women file suit against B&H Electronics

November 18, 2009 2:47:03 PM PST
A sex discrimination lawsuit has been filed against one of the best-known electronics stores in New York. Four women accuse B&H Electronics of workplace promotions that were discriminatory.

The four women claim B&H refused to give them sales positions because of their gender. Three applied for jobs, but were turned down. The other currently works as a cashier.

"I felt hurt because I didn't feel it was fair due to the fact that I'm a woman," employee Nakisha Cushnie said.

In the lawsuit, Cushnie alledges, "I asked to work in sales and make more money, but was told that no women were allowed in sales for religious reasons."

"It was very stressful," she said. "I have a family to support. The salary needs to be a lot better. I was very upset to hear I couldn't be a saleswoman."

Cushnie has worked for B&H since April. She says she quickly realized working in sales would give her the best salary. She says it's not easy raising her kids on $9 an hour as a cashier.

"Out of the 75 employees working in the store, not counting cashiers, there was a grand total of one woman," attorney Richard Ancowitz said. "It's kind of surprising that in this day and age, 2009, that we would see such blatant and obvious gender discrimination."

The plaintiffs are asking for more than $7 million in damages.

Two years ago, B&H agreed to pay $4.3 million to settle a discrimination case about Hispanics getting paid less than others, and the company failing to promote them or provide health benefits.

The New York institution employs 800 to 900 people, many of whom are observant Jews.

"I knew there's no reason why I couldn't work anywhere," plaintiff Juana Lora said. "I wasn't considering if they were Hasidic or not. I know I'm qualified to do a job, and I went in there to apply for a job."

B&H attorney David Eisenberg told Eyewitness News he can't comment on a case his office hasn't seen.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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