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BY Francis Akhalbey, 8:51am July 11, 2024,

Man who was offered job interview after he changed the name on his resume sues

Dwight Jackson claims Detroit's Shinola Hotel offered him a job interview only after he changed the name on his resume -- Photo Credit: Dwight Jackson/CNN

The Shinola Hotel in downtown Detroit is facing a discrimination lawsuit from a 27-year-old Black man who alleges he was finally offered a job interview from the hotel only after he changed the name on his resume, CNN reported. 

The plaintiff, identified as Dwight Jackson, claims in the July 3 lawsuit that he was rejected after applying for multiple positions at Shinola Hotel when he used the name “Dwight Jackson” on his resume. He alleges that he ultimately received an interview offer from the hotel after he changed his name to “John Jebrowski.” 

The lawsuit claims that the hotel violated the “Michigan Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act” when it rejected Jackson after he applied for the positions. Shinola Hotel’s operating partner is Sage Hospitality Group.

Jackson is said to have sent job applications for multiple positions at Shinola Hotel between January and April 2024. Shinola Hotel on its website describes the establishment as a “luxury” hotel.

A copy of Jackson’s resume that his attorney Jon Marko shared with CNN also showed that the 27-year-old had been employed constantly and previously worked as a “Front Desk Agent” at Detroit’s Marriott Westin Book Cadillac and David Whitney Hotel. Both hotels also respectively describe their establishments with the words luxury and luxurious. 

“Mr. Jackson had applied for a job that he was eminently qualified for,” Marko told the news outlet. One of the roles Jackson also applied to at Shinola Hotel was a position in reception, per the lawsuit. 

Jackson in April 2024 ultimately used an alias to re-apply after Shinola Hotel did not respond to his previous applications. The lawsuit states that Jackson slightly altered the resumes and sent an application to Shinola Hotel “twice for similar positions under a more readily apparent Caucasian name, with the alias ‘John Jebrowski.’” The previous dates of employment were details in the resume that were changed.

The lawsuit states that after the plaintiff applied with the alias, he was offered several interviews that week. The lawsuit, per CNN, further claims that “Jackson established that the Defendant’s consideration of candidates was based on the racial appearance of the applicant’s name.”

“To be denied a job in 2024 in your hometown, for the color of your skin, goes beyond dollars and cents. It goes into the psyche of a person,” Marko, who is a civil rights attorney, said.

Anna Stancioff, Sage Hospitality’s Senior Corporate Director of PR & Brand Communications and spokesperson for Shinola Hotel, responded to the allegations in a statement on Tuesday.

“We take this allegation very seriously and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” Stancioff said. “We are committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where everyone has the opportunity to succeed and are dedicated to building a diverse workforce that reflects the community.”

Marko said Jackson ultimately attended the interview and registered his displeasure with the Shinola Hotel interviewer. He also identified himself and said he felt he was not initially offered the interview because his name largely came across as indigenously African American.

“Shortly after Jackson underwent the interview process, he was informed that he was no longer a viable candidate for the position,” per the lawsuit. Marko also told CNN that Jackson’s case isn’t peculiar.

“We’ve seen a lot of discrimination in hiring, especially when it comes to the exclusion of minorities and individuals who have minority-sounding names,” the civil rights attorney said.

Marko, however, said presenting facts to back allegations of name bias is an arduous task and lack of evidence prevents a majority of such cases from even proceeding. But the civil rights attorney also explained Jackson’s case is unique as he used almost the same resume to apply for two similar roles on two occasions and the outcome was different when he changed his name to “John Jebrowski.”

Jackson, according to his attorney, “wants to shed light on this problem that’s not just isolated at the Shinola Hotel, not just isolated in Detroit or Michigan, but across the country. He wants to make sure that it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 11, 2024

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