A Black architect believes a Seattle banker discriminated against her after he thought she cashed a fake check.
Trish Doolin began working at Nelson Connections in September, according to her Facebook page. On Oct. 5, she described her encounter at KeyBank. There, she said a teller called her into his office to question the validity of her paycheck.
Doolin’s friend Sugar shared a screenshot of the Facebook post on Twitter Wednesday.
When you’re 1 of a handful of Black female architects EVER and you try to cash your payroll check @keybank. pic.twitter.com/U1pndNGvFv
— bald headed Sug (@whoissugar) October 5, 2016
Users felt stunned by Doolin’s story.
@J_fire38 @amiehartnett Very true!
It’s a sad world where I’m more surprised by outdated payment methods than I am at blatant racism 😞
— Cameron (@MockStarNZ) October 6, 2016
@whoissugar @keybank y’all are about to have a real live public relations issue. Sue them for discrimination
— Sisi😍 (@Ms_AwesomePants) October 6, 2016
@whoissugar this is disgusting. I will be spreading the word that black people aren’t welcome at @keybank
— Tiff (@BlackLoveSong) October 6, 2016
A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Doolin told BuzzFeed News she moved to Seattle recently. Since beginning at Nelson Connections, the company had not yet activated the direct deposit system. On Wednesday morning, she dropped by the bank to cash her paycheck and left.
Fifteen minutes later, the 37-year-old received a call from a bank teller BuzzFeed identified as Thor Loberg. A look on Loberg’s LinkedIn page reveals he is a personal banker at KeyBank in Totem Lake, Washington.
Loberg asked Doolin to return to the financial institution. He said there had been an issue with the check.
Upon Doolin’s arrival, she found that a white teller had looked up her firm’s website. After questioning the architect about her career and why Nelson Connections was headquartered in Philadelphia, Doolin said he wanted to know if human resources could confirm her employment with the company.
Then, the banker tried unsuccessfully to call Nelson Connections. In the process, Doolin remembered, he “kept saying it was for the bank’s safety.” However, he never asked for her identification.
Ultimately, the teller decided to place a nine-day hold on Doolin’s account since it had not been open for at least 30 days. He told her the action was to prove the monies were valid.
“When I realized that I was defending who I was, trying to prove to someone I didn’t know who I was, I knew I was being discriminated against,” Doolin told BuzzFeed. “It was just completely demeaning.”
In her Facebook post, she described feeling like she wanted to “jump on his desk and scream” before “just wanting to cry.”
Doolin left the office and called back around 4:30. When a female employee answered, Doolin described her ordeal. The woman simply informed Doolin that the banker who questioned her “is far from racist.” And she added he would have treated “any other customer” the same way.
An update from Sugar’s Twitter account revealed Doolin’s funds were released and she planned to transfer to another bank. Sugar also shared that Doolin received an apologetic phone call from KeyBank’s executive office.
Update: My friend received a call/apology from the executive office @keybank. Buzz feed also interviewed her. This will be my last update.
— bald headed Sug (@whoissugar) October 6, 2016
Still, Doolin recognized she will always face discrimination and racism because she is Black.
“I live in a world where, no matter what’s in my brain or purse,” she told BuzzFeed. “No matter how I wear my hair, no matter how fabulous I look when I walk out the door, I’m still Black. People still clutch their purses when I walk past.”
In a statement to BuzzFeed, KeyBank said they are unable to speak on Doolin’s specific case. But they said they value “diversity within our organization, our communities and our clients. We do not tolerate discrimination.”
They also backed the policy of holding funds within 30 days of opening a new account.