US electronics retail giant Best Buy has been accused of discriminating against female and minority employees in a lawsuit filed by six current and former members of staff.
The plaintiffs allege that women and minorities, specifically African Americans and Latinos, receive lower salaries than their white male counterparts and are denied promotions.
Speaking to Hispanic Business News, lawyer Bill Lann Lee said: "Best Buy is touting its modern, high-tech products for customers this holiday season. The company's views of women and minority employees, however, remain outdated and obsolete."
Todd Schneider, also a lawyer for the plaintiffs, added: "This company operates through a corporate culture of racial and gender stereotypes. Best Buy enforces a nationwide policy that results in the preference of white male employees in hiring and for desirable job assignments."
The lawsuit claims that more than 80 per cent of Best Buy branch managers are white men, while less than 10 per cent are women and less than 10 per cent are Latino or African American.
"Qualified women and minority applicants are turned away, and even when the company does hire them, it generally does not permit them to work on the sales floor - the pathway to promotion," said Lee.
"Rather they are segregated to the stock room, cashier stations, and minor sales positions."
One of the plaintiffs is Cheryl Chappel, a 40 year old Best Buy worker who claims she was denied a promotion to the role of operations supervisor despite top scoring performance reviews and extensive experience. Instead the job went to a male member of staff who worked part time - and Chappel alleges that Best Buy managers told her that this was because it was "a man thing."
"I was told by several managers that I didn't need to be on the sales floor. I was told females can't sell," Chappel said.
Best Buy has already confirmed that it will contest the lawsuit, stating: "Best Buy is committed to a workplace free of discrimination. We do not tolerate discriminatory practices."