Chattanooga’s Tennessee Aquarium Sued Over Alleged Racially Discriminatory Job Posting

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Kelly M. Jackson] –

At the end of last month, three people who had applied for a Community Engagement Educator job post by the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga were denied the position. The three are suing the aquarium, claiming that they were discriminated against because of their race. 

The reason that the three applicants believe they were discriminated against was because the job posting issued by the aquarium explicitly stated that they were only looking for the following: “Applicants must be of minority group that would include but is not limited to: African American or Black, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Asian American or Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latino, and applicants who consider themselves to be of more than one race.”

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The three applicants that decided to apply anyway did so because they felt they were amply qualified for the position.  Timothy Gunn is a U.S. Navy veteran with skills in sonar technology and oceanography. Zachary Taylor was also a U.S. Navy veteran who was deployed overseas and provided security for nuclear submarines, as well as presented information to and trained large groups. Marni Pearce said she has “experience working with underserved and underrepresented communities.”

None of the three applicants were contacted for an interview or hired for the position. Only one of the applicants, Ms. Pearce, was informed months later that the position had been filled. 

The Tennessee Aquarium’s response was that the posting was ill-worded, and that it didn’t intend to imply they only wanted applicants that were everything BUT white applicants. They said it was meant to be inclusionary so as to avoid violating federal discrimination laws. 

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The language in the lawsuit conveys that the aquarium is claiming that they couldn’t have intentionally violated civil rights laws because they didn’t have enough information on the applicants at their time of application to form that intent. And that the person who wrote the posting, was not doing it at the behest of the aquarium, and without their knowledge. 

Due to local news contacting the aquarium and asking them about the exclusionary language in the posting, The Tennessee Aquarium said they would remove the posting in the form that it was in.  The removal of the posting took several weeks according to reports.  Based on the law, as it is written, no one can be excluded from opportunities for employment based on their race, for any reason.

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According to the lawsuit, the aquarium not only violated federal discrimination laws, but state human rights laws were also violated. The plaintiffs have not named a specific sum they are seeking but are insisting that they are heard before a jury of their peers, rather than being at the mercy of a bench trial. 

We will keep our readers updated on any developments as they occur. A copy of the entire lawsuit can be found here.

About the Author: Kelly Jackson is a recent escapee from corporate America, and a California refugee to Tennessee. Christ follower, Wife and Mom of three amazing teenagers. She has a BA in Comm from Point Loma Nazarene University, and has a background in law enforcement and human resources. Since the summer of 2020, she has spent any and all free time in the trenches with local grassroots orgs, including Mom’s for Liberty Williamson County and Tennessee Stands as a core member.  Outspoken advocate for parents rights, medical freedom, and individual liberty. Kelly can be reached at kelly@tennesseeconservativenews.com.

2 thoughts on “Chattanooga’s Tennessee Aquarium Sued Over Alleged Racially Discriminatory Job Posting

  • May 9, 2023 at 5:19 pm
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    Good for them. Discrimination works BOTH ways!!

    Reply
  • May 10, 2023 at 4:47 pm
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    “And that the person who wrote the posting, was not doing it at the behest of the aquarium, and without their knowledge. ” Then how did they know about the job opening and get it posted?

    “The Tennessee Aquarium’s response was that the posting was ill-worded, and that it didn’t intend to imply they only wanted applicants that were everything BUT white applicants. ” I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. That is exactly what they intended.

    “They said it was meant to be inclusionary so as to avoid violating federal discrimination laws. ” My favorite quote of them all. If it was meant to be inclusionary then don’t say anything at all.

    Reply

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