Human Resources Director Blows The Whiste On Miami Florida's Most Racist Bosses
Do you think you have the worst boss in the world? More than likely, that's probably a bit of an exaggeration -- unless you worked for Wilda Rodriguez, Victor Cabrera, and Teresa Ramirez.
The three were managers at the former Airbus Alliance LLC and were recently ranked 64th on eBossWatch's list of America's 100 worst bosses of 2014, the only Miamians to receive the dishonor.
So what did the trio do to earn the title? Well, just a history of rampant racial discrimination.
Airbus Alliance has since been renamed Prestige Transportation Services and is headquartered just east of Miami International Airport. It specializes in transporting airline crews from the airport to hotels.
It seems like it ought to be a pretty low-drama business, but employees claimed Rodriguez, Cabrera, and Ramirez made it a workplace heavy with anti-black racism.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit against Airbus Alliance in 2013 after the company's whistleblowing human resources manager, Eileen Motte, claimed the trio told her that even giving a black person a job application would be a "waste of paper." The manager also claimed the trio said, "Black people were trouble and would sue the company." Black applicants' forms were routinely thrown in the trash. Not a single black person was hired between 2008 and 2011, when the company was still operating as Airbus Alliance.
At the time, the company had only one non-Hispanic black employee, driver Rosemonde Jeanpaul, but she claims she was often forced to leave early and was not paid for full shifts. Jeanpaul claims that she was called "el mono" (spanish for "the monkey") by her managers and that all meetings were held in Spanish, a language she doesn't speak.
The EEOC also claimed the company regularly failed to keep track of or destroyed records relating to "employment applications, personnel records, and documents regarding rates of pay and other terms of compensation."
Not everyone who worked for the company was keen on Rodriguez, Cabrera, and Ramirez's racist policies, but the EEOC complaint claimed that three employees, including Motte, were fired for complaining about the practices.
This past October, Prestige ended up settling the suit for $200,000 and agreed to have its hiring processes monitored over the next four years.
The company is also under new ownership and management. Autobus Alliance's Miami-Dade Certification of Transportation was transferred from Ramirez to Prestige's new ownership in 2011.
"We are pleased that Prestige -- under its new ownership -- worked with the EEOC in reaching this important settlement," Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney of the agency's Miami District Office, said in a statement at the time. "The hiring and policy changes implemented by Prestige demonstrate the company's commitment to hiring African-Americans, and we are confident that going forward, Prestige will have a diverse workforce."
The new owners were not immediately available for comment.
As despicable as their actions may be, the trio ranked only 64th on the list. So who's number one? Birkram Choudhury of the L.A.-based Bikram's Yoga College of India. Yes,that Bikram. He was sued in 2014 by five women who made allegations of sexual harassment, rape, and assault.