EEOC Seal

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



PRESS RELEASE
8-20-18

EEOC Sues Ferman Auto Group’s Tampa Harley-Davidson For Sex Discrimination

Dealership Passed Over Qualified Female Employee Nine Times for General Manager Position, Federal Agency Charged

TAMPA, Fla.- Ferman Automotive Group and Cigar City Motors, which owns and operates the Tampa Harley-Davidson dealership and other car and motorcycle dealerships in the Tampa Bay area, violated federal law by failing to promote a female sales manager to numerous vacant general manager positions because of her sex, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit today.

According to EEOC's lawsuit, Ferman repeatedly promoted males to vacant general manager positions even though a female general sales manager expressed an interest in the vacancies and was equally or more qualified than the male candidates. Ferman required her to participate in a "mentorship" program to be eligible for promotion. The male job candidates promoted to the positions did not have the same requirement.

Sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed suit against Ferman Automotive Group (and affiliated entities) (8:18-cv-2055-T-35CPT) in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. EEOC seeks monetary and injunctive relief to address the discriminatory practices.

"Although Title VII was passed more than 50 years ago, women nationwide continue to be passed over for promotion because of their sex or gender. This contributes to the gender wage gap and affects a woman's ability to provide for themselves and their families," said Robert E. Weisberg, Regional Attorney for the Miami District Office. "The law is clear-employers cannot discriminate on the basis of sex and they must provide a level playing field for all employees to compete for management positions."

The EEOC's Tampa Field Director Evangeline Hawthorne added, "The EEOC has long fought to protect women from hitting the glass ceiling in all professions and from the outdated stereotypes about women in leadership which continue to persist. EEOC will continue to enforce the law to ensure that employers afford women the same promotional opportunities as men."

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.