According to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint, Gray Hollett, former chief marketing officer at Boyden World Corporation, claims he was unlawfully fired in January after he complained about discriminatory remarks.
The complaint states that from late 2017, Jörg Kasten, Boyden’s board of directors chairman and managing partner of Germany, began making “frequent derogatory” statements about Hollett’s nationality, stating that he was “too American” and that he needed to be “more European.”
“During the course of my employment at Boyden, I became aware that Chairman Kasten, other European partners and Board Members held openly and blatantly discriminatory attitudes towards certain employees at Boyden, like myself, that were born and raised in the United States,” Hollett’s complaint states.
Hollett stated that the “discriminatory and hostile… anti-American comments” were “consistent” insults from Kasten, but that other European directors at the firm also held “anti-American bias and animus.”
The complaint states that Hollett was wearing khaki pants, a button-down shirt and a pullover sweater during a board member meeting in November 2017 when Kasten chastised him for his outfit, telling him to be “more like” another executive.
“I felt quite humiliated,” Hollett said, referring to the incident.
He wrote in the filing that the comment was “ageist in nature” because the employee he was compared to was significantly younger and that other “younger colleagues” consistently wore jeans and T-shirts but were never disciplined or chastised.
The complaint also states that in August 2019, Nick Robeson, the managing partner for Boyden UK, became upset because of a marketing decision Hollett made.
After explaining his decision, Robeson told Hollett that his arguments were “outdated” and that it was “time to retire,” according to copies of emails attached to the complaint.
Hollett said that he “repeatedly complained and expressed my concerns … about Robeson’s overtly hostile and discriminatory ageist remarks” to Trina Gordon, Boyden CEO, and others, but that to the best of his knowledge, “nothing was ever done.”
Hollett was suddenly fired in January after 13 years of service to the company.