"I Felt Less Than Human," Says One Victim
MIAMI -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today the $700,000 settlement of a national origin, religion and racial discrimination lawsuit against Lexus of Kendall, a South Dade, Fla.-based automotive dealership which specializes in the sale and service of high-end luxury vehicles.
The EEOC's lawsuit (Civil Action No. 01-4035-MARTINEZ/DUBE), in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, charged Lexus of Kendall with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by subjecting four Hispanic and Jewish employees, along with several similarly situated black employees, to an abusive and hostile working environment because of their race, religion and/or national origin. The EEOC contends that the harassment included unwelcome religious, ethnic and racial epithets made by the owner's son and two managers at the Lexus of Kendall location in South Dade. The EEOC filed suit after investigating the case and exhausting its efforts in conciliation to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement.
"The harassment by the owner's son and the two managers was so intolerable that I felt less than human," said one of the harassment victims. "I'm so happy that EEOC agrees that what we suffered was not only wrong, but illegal."
According to the Consent Decree resolving the case, approved by Judge Jos‚ E. Martinez, Lexus of Kendall is required to hire a presenter approved by the EEOC to provide annual training to all of its managers and supervisory personnel on all aspects of Title VII. Lexus of Kendall will also have to undergo monitoring which will include submitting semi-annual reports to the EEOC throughout the four year duration of the Consent Decree on harassment complaints and the manner in which Lexus addressed the complaints. Employees will also be advised via a laminated posting of Lexus of Kendall's commitment to complying with federal anti-discrimination laws.
Federico Costales, District Director of EEOC's Miami District Office, said: "We are pleased that the injunctive relief secured through the Consent Decree will provide measures that afford other Lexus of Kendall employees the ability to work in an environment free of unlawful harassment."
Delner Franklin-Thomas, EEOC Regional Attorney in Miami, said, "This lawsuit should send a message to both employers and employee that workplaces embedded with hostile environments will not be tolerated by the EEOC."
In addition to enforcing Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment or pregnancy) or national origin and protects employees who complain about such offenses from retaliation, the EEOC enforces the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which protects workers age 40 and older from discrimination based on age; the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits gender-based wage discrimination; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the federal sector; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Further information about the Commission is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.
This page was last modified on April 8, 2003.
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