Racial discrimination in the workplace is hardly a novel story, but an employer’s failure to take curative action when confronted by two black employees making the same allegations stretches the limits of credibility. Nevertheless, a workplace discrimination lawsuit recently filed by the former of a car dealership in Concord, NC, alleges these very facts.
The allegations in the complaint
The plaintiff, a black male, was an assistant manager at car dealership in Concord from 2014 until he resigned in late 2020. After resigning, the worker filed a lawsuit making several allegations of racial intolerance against the dealership and the foreman of the Service Department.
Most of the allegations of discrimination were aimed at a foreman in the service department. The complaint alleges that the man made “monkey noises” at the plaintiff and called him a “tint meter” – a reference that insinuated that his skin color was used to measure the acceptable tint in automobile windows. The foreman also claimed any black employee who may have been injured on the job would show no injuries due to black skin. The complaint also alleged that the foreman used the service department computer to draw unflattering racial caricatures of the plaintiff. The complaint alleges that the caricatures included blacked out teeth and gold earrings to make the plaintiff resemble a thug.
Complaints to management
The plaintiff and his supervisor complained to the service department manager about the foreman’s conduct. The manager downplayed the complaints, stating that “some people are just racist.” The complaint alleges that the racial taunts continued into December 2020.
The foreman who was the major perpetrator of the racial harassment was discharged by the company in October 2020, but harassment by white employees continued. The plaintiff alleges that the racial harassment started by the service foreman became so stressful that he was forced to resign to protect his health.
This lawsuit is not much different from other discrimination lawsuits, but it demonstrates that racism still exists in many North Carolina workplaces. Anyone who has faced similar discriminatory acts should contact an experienced employment lawyer for an evaluation of the facts and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages.