All-Black Trainee Program in Brazil Sparks Racism Accusations
(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s federal public defender’s office has filed a lawsuit against retail giant Magazine Luiza SA, accusing the company of discrimination because of its all-Black trainee program.
The civil suit says Magazine Luiza’s trainee program is a “business marketing strategy” and seeks 10 million reais ($1.8 million) for damages.
The initiative, which was announced last month amid a push to bring more diversity to leadership roles within the company, is a 12-month program starting in January. Candidates have to identify as Black or mixed race to qualify.
“It’s a selection based solely on skin color,” the lawsuit reads, adding that ensuring minorities are included can’t mean not providing equal opportunities to all workers.
Magazine Luiza declined to comment. On its website for the program, the retail giant cites Brazil’s history of slavery and says “innovative stories only happen through transformation, and transformation only happens through access. We want true equity through the richness that exists in diversity.”
Brazil has the second-largest Black population globally, with approximately 116 million people who identify as Black or mixed race -- 56% of the population. On top of earning less than their White peers do, Black and mixed-race Brazilians only count as one third of those in managerial positions.
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