U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Manager Hurled Racial Slurs and Degraded Black Employees of the Auto Dealership, Fired at Least One for Protesting, says EEOC
LAS VEGAS – Shack-Findlay Automotive, LLC d/b/a Findlay Honda and Findlay Automotive Group, Inc. violated federal law by subjecting its black employees to discrimination, harassment and retaliation, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed yesterday against the chain of automotive dealerships.
A parts department manager, who is white, referred to at least two black employees with the “N-word,” making racially derogatory comments and jokes on a near daily basis at Findlay’s dealership in Henderson, Nev., the EEOC alleged. The same manager referred to one employee as “gorilla” while the employee was holding a banana. The EEOC contends that the manager also imposed stricter work-related rules upon the dealership’s black employees, disciplining them for conduct that non-black employees were not disciplined for, and giving them less favorable work assignments.
Ultimately, both employees were terminated. The EEOC asserts that one of the employees was discharged for an infraction for which non-blacks were not disciplined, while the other was discharged after relaying his intention to file a charge of discrimination to the company.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada (EEOC v. Shack-Findlay Automotive, LLC d/b/a Findlay Honda and Findlay Automotive Group, Inc., Case No. 2:10-cv-01692-KJD-RJJ) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC’s suit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the victims as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent further discrimination at the company.
“While many believe that overt racial discrimination ceases to exist, this case exemplifies that the problem persists in pockets throughout our country,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, whose jurisdiction includes Nevada. “The EEOC was born out of the civil rights movement to eradicate such apparent discrimination, and we will fight to ensure that racial slurs and discrimination have no place in the workplace.”
Lucy V. Orta, local director for the EEOC’s Las Vegas Local Office, added, “The law requires that employers evaluate their workers by the same standards, no matter what their race. Without a doubt, employees have the right to complain as injustices of this nature arise, and retaliation for doing so is illegal.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.