Trouble in teenage witch paradise: An ex-employee of actress Melissa Joan Hart’s candy and yogurt company, Sweet Harts, is allegedly suing the Joan Hart and her business for wrongful termination and racial profiling. So what exactly happened? Find out after the jump!!
In the lawsuit, filed Thursday in Los Angeles and obtained by E! News, Shana Kharineh accuses the Melissa & Joey star and Sweet Harts of wrongful termination, discrimination based on race, retaliation against employee complaining of discrimination, failure to pay wages owed, failure to pay overtime wages, failure to provide meal periods, failure to provide rest periods, failure to pay minimum wage and unlawful business practices.
Hart’s camp reached out to E! News, saying, “Melissa Joan Hart is the owner of Sweetharts Sweets in Sherman Oaks, California. While the shop was her vision, Melissa does not currently function in a day-to-day operational capacity, and has never met Shana Kharineh. Sweet Harts Sweets is an equal opportunity employer, as is Melissa Joan Hart. Neither Sweetharts Sweets nor Melissa engages in or condones any form of discrimination whatsoever. There is no basis whatsoever to these vicious allegations.”
Kharineh was hired as a manager at the Sherman Oaks store in May 2011 with a starting salary of $450 a week, according to her complaint.
The plaintiff alleges that unlike the store’s white employees, Kharineh, who is African American, was given a special dress code based on her race and told not to wear black because “‘black on black’ did not look appropriate.”
Kharineh also says that because the store was understaffed June 2011, she was forced to work in excess of 60 hours per week with no overtime pay and no breaks. The next month, she claims, her employers “berated and humiliated” her, criticizing her performance and relationship with her fellow employees and complaining that “when she bent over her underwear would show.” She was fired in August and believes it’s because of her race and her complaints about her working conditons.