Former Hawks employee says she was fired after bringing up issue.
A former Atlanta Hawks employee is accusing the franchise of discriminating against white employees and firing her after she brought up the issue, according to reports.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Margo Kline, a white woman who worked as a community development coordinator for five years before being fired in March 2017, filed a lawsuit last week seeking punitive damages and a trial. The lawsuit states that the Hawks external affairs director David Lee, who is black, stimulated a culture of discrimination against white people, and especially white women.
According to the suit, Lee was dismissive and exclusionary toward white employees and would often make jokes about “white culture,” hiring and promoting black employees, who Kline said were less qualified, over white candidates. Kline says her complaints were ignored by the organization and she was then "unfairly scrutinized" for her work. The lawsuit also alleges white coworkers were told not to speak with Kline or they could lose their job.
Kline was fired last March just three weeks after a final written warning about her conduct and performance, according to the lawsuit.
The Hawks released a statement via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution denying Kline's claims. “The case was quickly dismissed at the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] level,” the statement read. “We deny these claims and will vigorously defend against them.”