Monday, August 16, 2022 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Federal Case Details: Bryant vs. BGC, Wells Fargo, et al - NDCA Case No. 3:22-cv-04643
Black Girls CODE Founder and CEO, Kimberly Bryant, Wrongfully Terminated After Exoneration by Investigation.
OAKLAND, CA - One day after Ms. Kimberly Bryant, Founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE, filed a federal lawsuit alleging wrongful suspension and conflict of interest by board member Heather Hiles, against individual members of a self-designated “special board committee” of BGC, the members terminated Ms. Bryant’s position both as a board member of the organization and as the CEO. Ms. Bryant states the termination is an unfortunate culmination of a hostile takeover initiated by Board Member Heather Hiles of the nonprofit that Ms. Bryant created from the ground up, with Hiles’ ultimate desire to gain control of over $30 million dollars in donated philanthropic funds.
Ms. Bryant asserts that the BGC Board hired an independent investigator sometime in or around January 2022, to investigate claims of toxic work environment including Hiles’ allegation that Bryant “misgendered” a staff member with the reference to the staff member as “She” instead of “They”. The independent investigator, Aisha Adams, interviewed on or around 26 witnesses over the course of eight months, including interviewing Bryant for five consecutive days, five hours each day, and concluded in her presentation to the Board on Friday, August 12th that none of the witnesses substantiated the special committee’s claims against Bryant.
She is filing an amended lawsuit alleging wrongful termination because in total disregard of the investigator’s finding of no wrongdoing and after spending almost $2 million of donor funds in legal fees, Heather Hiles, Stacy Brown-Philpot, and Sherman Whites (the members of the special committee) led a charge to remove Bryant from the Board of Directors and terminate her employment as CEO of her organization. Stacy Brown-Philpot specifically stated that the board reserved the right to remove Ms. Bryant without cause from her role as director prior to hearing the investigation results and shared her opinion that it was in the best interests of Black Girls CODE that Ms. Bryant no longer be affiliated with the organization which she created in 2011.
When it was time to vote on these motions, Ms. Bryant was absent from the meeting having been removed from the proceedings and not allowed to respond to the investigation results or have a vote on her removal from the board. Within minutes after the decision, BGC issued a Press Release on Friday August 12, 2022, in which it suggested that the allegations of workplace misconduct lodged against Ms. Bryant as CEO were founded, further defaming the name, professional reputation, and illustrious career of the pioneer of BGC, Ms. Bryant.
Ms. Bryant shall continue to pursue any and all legal to right the abhorrent wrongs against her before the current Board of Directors destroy the foundation and outreach of Black Girls CODE and the young girls of color that the organization serves. Bryant emphatically and emotionally said, “Heather Hiles’ attempt to destroy BGC, which I built to help girls, especially girls of color, to enter into the high-tech industry of computer coding across the world, hurts me to my core. My painful feelings are for the girls who will suffer from Heather Hiles’ aggressive greed to dominate and and destroy this beautiful community created to uplift and celebrate Black women and girls.”