Sephora Accused of Discrimination by Memphis Man Who Lost Warehouse Job Following Background Check

May 31, 2023

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sephora was accused of discrimination today in a new filing brought on behalf of Mr. Kelvin Nash, who alleged the international beauty retail chain revoked an offer of employment based on a past criminal record, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Mr. Nash, a 41-year-old African American man residing in Memphis, Tennessee, contends that in December 2022, Sephora retracted his job offer due to a decade-old criminal conviction, despite the conviction having no bearing on his ability to perform the job.

“I was excited for my job at Sephora and I was devastated when the company told me I couldn’t return to work just because of a criminal charge that happened over ten years ago,” said Mr. Nash. “I feel this decision was unfair, I was qualified, had the skills and was ready to do the job and do it well.”

According to the charge, Mr. Nash, who possesses significant relevant experience for the position, including 16 years operating forklifts in warehouses, received the job offer for a full-time forklift operator position at Sephora’s distribution center in Olive Branch, Mississippi. Two weeks into his role, Sephora revoked the offer following a background check that revealed his prior criminal conviction.

“Mr. Nash’s case reveals an alarming pattern where the rights and opportunities of individuals are unfairly curtailed due to past criminal records, even when those records have no relevance to their ability to perform the job,” said Ossai Miazad, attorney for Mr. Nash, partner at Outten & Golden LLP and co-chair of the firm’s Discrimination & Retaliation Practice Group. “Such policies disproportionately affect African American and Latino/a applicants and employees.”

Mr. Nash’s charge seeks back pay, front pay, lost benefits, compensatory and punitive damages, nominal damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs, injunctive relief, including reinstatement, and other appropriate relief. He requests that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigate the claims made in his charge on a class-wide basis.