Sesame Place to train employees in anti-discrimination

The training programme will also be included in during an employee's onboarding with the company

Sesame Place to train employees in anti-discrimination

Theme park Sesame Place has announced that it will train its employees on inclusion and diversity following a lawsuit alleging incidents of racial discrimination committed by some of its costumed characters against Black children.

"By the end of September 2022, all employees will participate in a substantive training and education program designed to address bias, promote inclusion, prevent discrimination, and ensure all guests and employees feel safe and welcome," Sesame Street Philadelphia said in an announcement.

It added that this training will be incorporated in the company's onboarding stage for new staff and will be a regular part of its training and workforce development.

In addition to the employees' training, the theme park announced that it will commence a racial equity assessment to review its policies, processes, and practices, as well as enhance its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) programme.

Cathy Valeriano, Sesame Place Philadelphia president, said they have already begun taking engaging with employees, guests, and other relevant parties as the review proceeds.

"The actions we are taking will help us deliver on our promise to provide an equitable and inclusive experience for all our guests every day," said Valeriano in a statement. "We are committed to making sure our guests feel welcome, included, and enriched by their visits to our park."

Read more: Ex-McDonald's employee filing discrimination complaint

The initiatives come as the theme park faces allegations of discrimination after videos surfaced online that some of its costumed characters were ignoring Black children. One family has already pursued legal action against the theme park for $25 million over claims of racial discrimination.

Addressing the allegations, the theme park issued a statement of apology in mid-July, where it first announced training for employees to promote inclusion.

"For over 40 years Sesame Place has worked to uphold the values of respect, inclusion, and belonging," the company said in a statement. "We are committed to doing a better job making children and families feel special, seen, and included when they come to our parks."

In a later apology statement, the company took responsibility for the actions committed by some of its staff and stressed that they are taking the matter "extremely seriously."

"It is antithetical to our values, principles, and purpose. We are committed to working tirelessly and intentionally to make this situation better. We will do the necessary work for the long haul — not just in the public eye, but also behind the scenes and within ourselves."

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