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“Don’t Spend Where You Can’t Work”
By Jennifer Bihm (Contributing Writer)
Published August 29, 2007

L.A. Woman Says She was Denied Employment Because of Race

A Los Angeles woman said she faced blatant discrimination when she went to apply for a job at a Korean-owned fashion boutique on Western Avenue last fall. Shari Campbell, a 47-year-old African American woman, said the owners of Western Larger Sizes told her the reason she could not work there was because “they don’t hire Black people.” But after seeking legal redress to no avail, she said, she is now starting a public campaign encouraging Blacks to not spend money at an establishment where they can’t work .

“They told me that they hired a Black woman before and that she didn’t act professional,” Campbell, who said she has been a long time customer at the store, explained.

Campbell said she first applied to the job, which involved helping customers she was told, in August 2006 and waited about four months for a response.

“I went back around November (that same year) because I wanted some extra cash for the holidays,” she said.

When she went back she said she noticed a Hispanic girl working there and that’s when they told her.

“First they told me it was because they needed someone who spoke Spanish, which I speak fluently,” said Campbell.

After that was when they made the “not hiring Black people comment.”

Campbell went to the Equal Employment Opportunity Comm-ission about the incident but they told her a claim of discrimination could not be made since the store had less than five employees. Meanwhile, Sunny Kym, who works at the cash register but said she is not the store’s owner denied Campbell’s claim, saying they did not hire her because she is a lot older than their clientele.

“We are a fashion [boutique],” Kym said.

“We need younger people.”

Kym also said that most of the people who shop at the store speak Spanish and they needed someone who spoke “perfect” Spanish to be able to interact with the customers.

“[Campbell] told us she only spoke a little bit of Spanish [during the interview].”

But Campbell said she noticed “plenty” of Blacks shopping at the store also.

“I just think of those other women shopping at the store and how she’s smiling at them and taking their money and she doesn’t like them. It’s just not right and I don’t think (Black people) should let her get away with it,” Campbell said.

Western Larger Sizes is located on Venice and Western inside a shopping plaza that includes a Food 4 Less grocery store, Anna’s Linens, Factory 2 U and a CVS pharmacy. A couple of eateries are on the lot and there is also another plaza across the street. The high traffic shopping area is frequented by both Blacks and Hispanics and a lot of the shop owners are Korean.

Campbell said so far she has spent at least $600.00 at the store but will never shop there again.

“My father was almost killed by Ku Klux Klan members in the south,” she said.

“I refuse to participate in anything that pushes African Americans backward.”

Categories: Local

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