The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-30-09

SALISBURY MOTOR COMPANY SUED BY EEOC FOR RACIAL HARASSMENT AND DISCRIMINATION

Car Dealership Subjected Black Employee to Racial Slurs, Demeaning Tasks and Discharge, Federal Agency Charges

SALISBURY, N.C. – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today, that Salisbury Motor Company, Inc. in Salisbury, N.C., violated federal law by subjecting an African-American employee to a racially hostile work environment and different terms and conditions of employment. Further, the EEOC said, the company fired the man for complaining.

According to the EEOC’s complaint (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Salisbury Motor Company, Inc., U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, Civil Action No. 1:09-CV-00750), from November 2005 until June 2008, Glenn Bailey was subjected to unwelcome derogatory racial slurs including the “N-word” by Salisbury Motor’s owners and upper management. The EEOC also contends that Bailey, who worked as a car detailer, was subjected to different terms and conditions of employment than his white coworkers.

Specifically, Bailey was required to perform various non-job-related demeaning tasks and personal errands for company officials. The tasks included such things as cleaning a chicken coop that was filled with dead chickens located on the manager’s property; pulling weeds from the lawn at the dealership; packing and moving the manager’s daughter’s household items; cleaning spots from carpet at the dealership while on his hands and knees; and running personal errands for managers. According to the complaint filed by the EEOC, if Bailey refused to perform these tasks, he was threatened with termination. The complaint also charges that Bailey, who was the dealership's only black employee, was required to perform these tasks, but white employees were not.

Finally, the EEOC’s complaint alleges that in June 2008, Bailey informed managers that he had decided to resign because he could no longer endure the racial discrimination. After Bailey complained about the discrimination, Salisbury Motor fired him in retaliation for his complaints.

Racial harassment, race discrimination and retaliation violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition, Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of his race. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The agency seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief for Bailey.

“The evidence presented to the EEOC indicates that Salisbury Motor Company's owners and upper management required Mr. Bailey to perform demeaning and subservient tasks because he is black, and in order to keep his job he had to comply,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC's Charlotte District Office. “It is this agency’s mission to eliminate discrimination in the workplace and we will vigorously prosecute cases like this.”

Tina Burnside, supervisory trial attorney in the Charlotte District Office, said, “No employee should have to endure the type of harassment and discrimination that Mr. Bailey did. Employers cannot subject a black employee to different terms and conditions of employment from white employees.”

Salisbury Motor specializes in selling and servicing new and used automobiles, trucks, and all parts and accessories. The dealership has been in business since 1919.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.


This page was last modified on September 30, 2009.

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