Women Sexually Harassed and Older Men Fired, Federal Agency Charged
DENVER – Arapahoe Motors, Inc., doing business as Ralph Schomp Automotive (Ralph Schomp), has agreed to pay $1.505 million and furnish other relief to settle a sex and age discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. Ralph Schomp, based in Littleton, is one of the highest volume BMW, Honda, and Mini dealers in Colorado.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit (EEOC v. Arapahoe Motors, Inc., d/b/a Ralph Schomp Automotive, 09-cv-02961 REB-MJW), five women were subjected to sex discrimination and a sexually hostile work environment while employed by the car dealership. The unlawful conduct allegedly included offensive verbal comments and physical touching, demotion, refusal to transfer, salary reduction and failure to promote.
The EEOC also alleged that five older male employees were terminated because of their ages and replaced with younger, less experienced workers. Additionally, a manager in his twenties allegedly made age-related comments prior to the terminations and younger employees with lower sales numbers were retained.
“Sexual harassment and sex discrimination against women in traditionally male-dominated industries, such as the auto industry, are still unfortunate realities,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “Likewise, older workers continue to experience age discrimination, despite their experience, productivity and qualifications. Employers should remember that the EEOC is here to find and fight this kind of unlawful mistreatment.”
In addition to the monetary settlement to be distributed among the 10 former employees, Ralph Schomp has agreed to enter into a two-year consent decree requiring it to post its anti-discrimination policy, provide training about anti-discrimination laws to its employees and managers, and make periodic reports to the EEOC.
EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the Phoenix District, which includes Colorado, said. “We commend Ralph Schomp for addressing this case head-on, for being willing to work with our Denver Field Office to resolve it, and for its commitment to better educate its work force. We believe this consent decree will help foster a discrimination-free workplace going forward.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.
The EEOC’s Denver Field Office, located at 303 East 17th Avenue, Suite 410, in Denver, enforces federal anti-discrimination laws in Colorado and Wyoming.