Row between Guyanese, Trini leads to NY bank lawsuit

Shivana Persad (NY Daily News)

The New York Post says a Trinidadian bank worker has filed a discrimination lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase on Liberty Avenue, Queens NY following a series of incidents including an alleged taunt by her Guyanese superior that Trinis are lazy compared to Guyanese

“You come to the land of opportunity and then you have to face discrimination,” Trinidad native Shivana Persad, 26, told The Post. “It is supposed to be equality for all.”

In her discrimination lawsuit filed in Queens Supreme Court, Persad alleged that Fazeila Mahedo, her boss at the JP Morgan Chase branch on Liberty Avenue in “Little Guyana,” allegedly told her: “Trinidadians are lazy compared to the Guyanese”. Persad said that when she complained, Mahedo would retort: “That’s a Trinny thing — she can’t take it.”

Persad, who worked at the branch from 2005 to 2009 — when she was transferred and then fired — worked a six-day week, including occasional 12-hour shifts, but was not paid more than 400 hours of overtime.

The suit says she took her complaints to human resources and this allegedly angered Mehado, who held a meeting with bank workers and then — allegedly glaring at Persad — brushed aside the complaint as coming from someone who was “pissed about a recent incident that occurred.”

The Post said that the manager then allegedly warned that if anyone tried to “bypass [Mahedo] and complained to HR again, [they] should instead pack [their] bags and leave because [they] would be out of a job”.

Mahedo also allegedly denied Persad a day off for Diwali although a Guyanese worker was allowed to take the day off, the lawsuit claimed.

She’s seeking unspecified damages.

Shivana’s lawyer, Matthew Blit, said the case sheds light on tensions among different ethnic communities in Queens all “competing with each other for jobs in this economic climate … [Persad] is the latest victim in this war.”

A lawyer for Chase and Mahedo didn’t return a call for comment, the Post said.

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