Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Former Mercedes-Benz Employees Sue for Race Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

Two former employees of a Manhattan Mercedes-Benz dealership have filed lawsuits after receiving their Notice of Right to Sue letters from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that they were subject to race harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

The Huffington Post has a good write-up of the lawsuit, which Mercedes-Benz claims is baseless:
Burnell Guyton and Andre Grammer say they found grafitti in the showroom’s bathroom featuring swastikas, an image of a stick figure hanging from a noose, and phrases like "Burnell is a dumb as [sic] n*****," according to a lawsuit filed earlier this week. The two claim they were ultimately fired for complaining about the discrimination, despite their successful work performance. ... 
Guyton, who had a 30-year career in the auto industry, including owning three dealerships before his time at Mercedes, said people were initially "resistent" when he was first hired as the only African-American manager in the showroom. He added that had heard racial discrimination being expressed verbally before the graffiti appeared. ... 
After Guyton and Grammer complained, the graffiti was painted over and the dealership's director of human resources asked the employees near the bathroom to refrain from putting racist remarks on the stalls, according to the lawsuit. But the suit claims she didn’t make an effort to investigate the source of the graffiti, make any indication that the behavior wasn’t permitted by a anti-harassment or anti-discrimination policy, or say that the behavior was unacceptable.
Mercedes-Benz claims one of the plaintiffs was terminated for cause and the other quit "without cause or provocation," which is a substantially different version from the plaintiffs who claim they were termination at nearly the exact same time.  

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