A judge's gavel. Photo via Pixabay.
A judge’s gavel. Photo via Pixabay.

A Jewish man is suing an electronics manufacturing company, alleging he was fired in July in retaliation for complaining about alleged discrimination, and for expressing concerns about writing a company statement soliciting funds for Black Lives Matter due to his disagreement about BLM’s views on Israel.

Dani Kollin’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against Belkin International Inc. in Playa Vista alleges wrongful termination, retaliation and failure to prevent retaliation. He seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the suit brought Friday.

A Belkin International representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

The suit states that during recent protests regarding police shootings and racial inequality, the media found that many of the U.S.’ largest companies pay “lip-service” to racial equality but actually exploit Black people. At those companies, a disproportionate amount of the most difficult and lowest paid work is done by Black employees, according to the suit.

“But those companies duck and cover under the guise of not seeing color when faced with that reality,” the suit states. “They are like a college student who goes to a protest to bring attention to the plight of exploited farmers in Columbia by day while doing drugs from Columbia and manically proclaiming his contribution to world peace by night.”

Kollin worked for Belkin from August 2019 to July 3 of this year as the creative director of the company’s innovation creative group, the suit states. Belkin designs and manufacturers electronics, including phone accessories, and Kollin was responsible for marketing and designing the firm’s communications and advertisements while managing about 25 employees, the suit states.

Kollin protested many times to Belkin management that the company’s decision not to promote a woman of Asian descent merely because there was a Black woman on the same team was discriminatory and unfair, the suit states.

“To be clear, the company had absolutely no intention of promoting the black woman,” the suit states. “It just expected that both women would be stuck in the same position indefinitely because one is black and perhaps because neither is white.”

The company believed that the Black woman could sue if she saw someone else being promoted, so rather than show an interest in diversity, Belkin “just wanted to avoid legal fees at the expense of the careers of two women of color,” the suit alleges.

In another disagreement with Belkin management, Kollin, who is Jewish, expressed concern about writing the company’s news release seeking funds for Black Lives Matter, the suit states. Although he supported protesters who called attention to racism in police departments, Kollin objected to the political message of the Black Lives Matter organization, saying its platform has characterized Israel’s activities in the Middle East as “genocidal,” the suit states.

The company could have supported Black lives in a different way that also respected the plaintiff’s concerns, according to the suit.

“Kollin did not advocate that the company decline to put out the statement supporting Black Lives Matter,” the suit states. “Indeed, he even offered to edit the statement to make sure that it was not written poorly. He just did not want to create a first draft. When he told this to his superior, he got resistance.”

Kollin has strong positive relationships with several Black people, but he is also a “deeply thoughtful and conscientious man whose identity is defined by his religious beliefs and intertwined ethnic heritage,” the suit states.

Kollin later complained to human resources that he believed Belkin was pressuring him to write the BLM statement and he shared an article from Atlantic magazine to educate the firm about why he was conscientiously objecting to the project, according to the suit.

About a week before losing his job, Kollin again complained to human resources that he believed he was a victim of discrimination, the suit states. He was fired shortly thereafter and believes the company took the action because of his complaints and concerns about the company’s hiring practices as well as anti-Semitism and discrimination.

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