State panel overturns support for fired company president’s allegation of anti-Semitism – Sun Sentinel

0

The ousted chairman of a Hollywood company has lost support from a key state panel for his claim that he was fired because of his age and religion.

David Kronrad, former chairman of a German medical equipment maker, sued the company in September, saying other executives openly praised Nazis and disliked Jews.

On August 23, the Florida Human Relations Commission found that Kronrad, who ran the North American division of Beurer Germany, had discharged his “initial burden of proof” to establish that Beurer executives had fired because of his age and because he was Jewish.

In its first finding, called a “reasonable cause determination,” the commission said it asked Beurer to defend itself against Kronrad’s claims, but Beurer did not respond.

But later the commission’s notice of cancellation, dated October 15, said it had since discovered that Beurer had in fact submitted a statement to the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on June 7. Somehow, the commission did not receive the statement when the EEOC transferred the case to the state level.

Complainants who plan to sue for discrimination are required to first submit their complaints to one of the two commissions, which then coordinate which of them will investigate the complaint.

The finding of “reasonable cause”, although rare, is considered important to the credibility of a claim. Commission spokesman Frank Panela said on Wednesday that the overturning of a previous reasonable cause finding is also “rare…extremely rare.”

Penela said state law prevented her from acknowledging the existence of Kronrad’s case. How the commission would have voted had it considered Beurer’s response may never be known.

Kronrad will continue with his lawsuit, originally filed Sept. 17 in Broward County Circuit Court, according to his attorney Jennifer Bullock. He does not plan to resubmit his case to the commission, she said.

“The termination of the [commission’s] The decision does not impact the status of the lawsuit or the merits of the claim,” Bullock said in an emailed statement. “David Kronrad was the target of religious and age discrimination and was removed from his post for these reasons. We are moving forward without any reservations.

Through a spokesperson, Beurer declined to provide the South Florida Sun Sentinel with a copy of its response to Kronrad’s claims. “They say it’s all fake,” the spokesperson said. “They are looking to defend themselves in court.”

Kronrad, now 52, ​​was recruited in 2009 to become president of the new Beurer North America, the American distribution arm of the German company. He was president from 2010 until his dismissal in September 2020.

His lawsuit claims that German-based executives showed bias towards him and other Jewish employees on numerous occasions:

  • One leader insisted on taking Kronrad to the site of a burnt-out synagogue during Kristallnacht, the Nazi-led “Night of Broken Glass” in 1938 that destroyed 7,000 Jewish-owned businesses and 267 synagogues.
  • Years after telling the executive he was not comfortable going to synagogue, the same executive scheduled a business lunch at a restaurant overlooking the site.
  • Buerer’s CEO and Chairman referred to Jews as “your people” and “you” and asked, “Why are your people so cheap?” »
  • One executive expressed a desire for a “young and hip” party culture at the company and hired younger employees so he could “have a fun night”.
  • Before she was named to replace Kronrad as chairwoman, a senior executive in the North American office, who was nominated by executives in Germany, slammed older employees and Jewish employees, blaming them for their mistakes and belittling their work performance. Kronrad’s replacement was in her thirties. he said.
  • The same executive asked new employees if they were Jewish and questioned the work ethic of an employee who asked to leave early on Fridays to observe Shabbat.

The lawsuit also says the company’s website documents its contributions to the German war effort during World War II and points out that it manufactured special thermal clothing for pilots and other products for military purposes until in 1943.

In an interview with the Sun Sentinel in late September, Kronrad said an executive had drunk too much at a reception one evening and boasted that his father was “the last German to go to the Eastern Front “, and regarding the Jews, he said “we should have finished the job.”

Kronrad said he stayed with the company for 10 years because he hoped he could force leaders to change. He said he tried to convince executives to include various images of customers on the packaging of products that exclusively featured white people. They refused to do so, he said.

Ron Hurtibise covers business and consumer issues for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He can be reached by phone at 954-356-4071, on Twitter @ronhurtibise or by email at [email protected].

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.