A Jewish man dropped his lawsuit against an electronics manufacturing company in which he alleged he was fired in 2020 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.
Aanand Mehtani, an attorney for plaintiff Dani Kollin, filed court papers with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John P. Doyle on Sept. 8 asking that his client’s case against Belkin International Inc. be dismissed “without prejudice,” meaning it can be revived later.
Mehtani could not be reached for comment on whether the case was settled or if he is not pursuing the case for other reasons.
The suit was brought against the Playa Vista company in September 2020, alleging wrongful termination, retaliation and failure to prevent retaliation. Lawyers for Belkin argued in their court papers that Kollin’s suit was barred after he filed for bankruptcy last December and obtained a discharge, but did not disclose the existence of the Belkin lawsuit.
Kollin worked for Belkin from August 2019 to July 2020 as the creative director of the company’s innovation creative group, the suit stated. 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 stated.
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 stated. “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 alleged.
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 stated. 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 stated.
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 stated. “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 is also a “deeply thoughtful and conscientious man whose identity is defined by his religious beliefs and intertwined ethnic heritage,” the suit stated.
Kollin later complained to human resources that he believed Belkin was pressuring him to write the BLM statement and he shared an article from The Atlantic magazine to educate the firm about why he was conscientiously objecting to the project, according to the suit.
When he again complained to human resources that he believed he was a victim of discrimination, he was fired a week later, the suit stated.