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Using capitalism to fight racism

By Belinda Martineau

One thing Enterprise columnist Tanya Perez (and other Davis residents) could do to help get over “paralysis by analysis” (or paralysis by anything else) regarding the current unacceptable state of racism in our country is to … boycott Nugget Markets.

After reading “Lawsuit against Nugget can go to trial” in The Enterprise several weeks ago—which described a racial/national origin discrimination case filed against Nugget Markets Inc. in 2017 on behalf of two men, one from El Salvador and one from Mexico, by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund — that’s one action against racism I’ve decided to take.

As described in Caleb Hampton’s article, a federal judge found that a “reasonable man in Plaintiffs’ circumstance would have found the hostile conduct sufficiently severe and pervasive,” and in response to complaints they made to company higher-ups about harassment by several supervisors one man was fired the very next day and the other started receiving his first negative performance reviews.

Although Nugget Markets’ chief impact officer claimed the “lawsuit is falling apart,” the court found the “evidence to be compelling” and ruled that the employees submitted “more than enough evidence” to warrant a trial.

Boycotting Nugget is not a decision I’ve come to lightly. I have enjoyed shopping at the store on Covell for years and find the quality of the merchandise and service high. It also particularly shocked me to learn of a discrimination case like this at Nugget since it’s been “ranked in the top 100 companies in the U.S. to work for” over the past 15 years.

And Nugget is, of course, innocent until proven guilty — in terms of our legal system anyway. But unless additional facts come to light that convince me otherwise, I will be using the power of my pocketbook in this capitalist society of ours to send the message to Nugget Markets Inc. that I will not support an establishment in which complaints about a “sustained campaign” of racially based abuse and harassment are allegedly dealt with through retaliation against the victims.


Eric Gelber

The allegations are serious and, if proven, I trust Nugget will incur substantial penalties. However, I am unlikely to boycott Nugget absent some evidence of a pattern and practice of discrimination, harassment, or other egregious employment practices. (I haven’t set foot in a Walmart for many years for that reason.)

In the meantime, can you provide us with the name of a supermarket chain that hasn’t been sued for employment discrimination at some point? I doubt a chain of any significant size exists.

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