General Manager Harassed Male Sales Consultant, Federal Agency Charges
BALTIMORE -Lindsay Cadillac Co. Inc., a Delaware corporation doing business as Lindsay Automotive Group, and Lindsay Ford, a Maryland corporation, which operate as an integrated enterprise, violated federal law when a male general manager created a hostile work environment that compelled a sales consultant to quit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the suit, the general manager at the Lindsay Ford Wheaton, Md. facility repeatedly made derogatory comments to a sales consultant, who is of South Asian origin and is dark-skinned. Although the sales consultant objected, the comments persisted, sometimes in the presence of others. In addition to the demeaning names, the general manager even threw things at him. On one occasion, the general manager groped the sales consultant while calling him "serial killer" and "creepy brown person." The general manager asked the sales consultant who he was going to kill and where the bodies were buried, the EEOC charges.
The sales consultant felt traumatized by the groping incident and as a result took leave. He complained to the Lindsay human resources director who, after a purported investigation, told the sales consultant he either would have to continue reporting to the general manager or transfer to another dealership an hour away. The EEOC says that the sales consultant was forced to resign based on Lindsay's inadequate response to the unlawful harassment.
The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Lindsay Ford, LLC and Lindsay Cadillac Co., Inc, t/a Lindsay Automotive Group, Case No. 8:19-cv-02636) in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Greenbelt Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"No employee should be forced to endure unwelcome touching or vile insults based on race, national origin, or sex in order to earn a living," said Jamie R. Williamson, director of the EEOC Philadelphia District Office. "The EEOC will take strong action to protect workers from egregious harassment if an employer fails to do so."
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, "Preventing and addressing harassment is a priority issue for the Commission. Harassment is especially pernicious when a manager is the wrongdoer. Employers are obligated to provide employees with an environment free of harassment and must take prompt and appropriate action to stop and remedy the harassment if it occurs."
The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the EEOC Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.
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