U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Cleveland Dealership Withheld Wages From Employee for Complaining About Discrimination Against Class of Black Workers, Federal Agency Charged
CLEVELAND – Andy Chevrolet, doing business as Sims Chevrolet, a Cleveland automobile dealership, will pay $85,000 and furnish other relief to settle a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today.
In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that since July 2007, Sims Chevrolet subjected a class of African Americans to different terms and conditions of employment and a hostile work environment on the basis of race. The federal agency alleged that the discriminatory conduct included racial epithets, such as repeated use of the N-word, and also involved management making sales team assignments based upon race. Additionally, the EEOC claimed that Sims retaliated against one of the individuals after he complained about the unlawful discrimination by withholding his wages.
Racial discrimination and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio after first attempting to reach a settlement out of court (EEOC v. Andy Chevrolet Company dba Sims Chevrolet, 1:08-cv-02335).
The three-year consent decree settling the suit provides for a monetary settlement of $85,000 to five discrimination victims. In addition to monetary relief, the decree provides for significant remedial relief, including revising the company’s non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and complaint procedures; promoting supervisor responsibility and accountability; and requiring yearly anti-discrimination training.
EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence of the Philadelphia District Office, which oversees parts of Ohio, said, “This case of discrimination could have been avoided if the employer had followed Title VII requirements. Even so, the settlement should be a reminder to all employers of their obligations under the statute.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.