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Press Release 05-24-2022

Lindsay Ford to Pay $105,000 to Settle EEOC Sex, National Origin and Racial Harassment Suit

Company Permitted Racial Epithets, and Sexually Charged Behavior Toward South Asian Worker, Federal Agency Charged

BALTIMORE – Lindsay Ford and Lindsay Ford Management Company, an automobile dealership in Wheaton, Maryland, will pay $105,000 and furnish significant injunctive relief to settle a race/national origin/sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commis­sion (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a car salesman of South Asian descent was continuously sub­jected to race- and national origin-based harassment by the dealership’s general manager, which escalated to sexual touching and resulted in the salesman being forced to quit. The defendants were aware of the harassment but failed to take action to stop it from occurring, and simply suggested that the salesman could apply for jobs at other dealerships, thereby forcing him to resign his employment, according to the lawsuit.

Racial, national origin and sexual harassment and other discrimination in employment, as well as retaliation for opposing such practices, violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (U.S. EEOC v. Lindsay Ford LLC, and Lindsay Management Company LLC, Civil Action No. 8:19-2636-TDC), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. Following a ruling that this case would proceed to trial, the EEOC and the company agreed to settlement of the lawsuit by consent decree without any federal court adjudication of liability issues in the case.

In addition to paying the $105,000 in monetary relief to the former employee, the decree settling the suit, now approved by the federal court, enjoins future violations of Title VII, including any future racial, national origin or sexual harassment or retaliation.

The decree also requires that the company implement measures designed to prevent workplace harassment, including revised anti-harassment policies and complaint procedures, anti-harassment and investigations training, and protocol on the preservation of evidence. The decree also provides for related reporting to EEOC of all future complaints of racial, national origin and sexual harassment, investigations of those com­plaints, and remedial actions taken.

“We are very pleased that Lindsay Ford and Lindsay Management Company worked collaboratively with EEOC to craft a compre­hensive settlement that will greatly benefit the company’s employees,” said EEOC Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence. “In addition to providing monetary compensation to the aggrieved worker, the extensive policies, procedures and training that they agreed to implement are designed to promote a fair and inclusive workplace free from harassment and retaliatory conduct. Imple­menting such measures is a smart business decision that benefits both workers and the company.”

EEOC Baltimore Field Office Director Rosemarie Rhodes added, “The kind of deep-rooted harassment that occurred in this case has spilled into many American workplaces and caused pain for many. The EEOC is committed to protecting civil rights for all workers and reminding employers to comply with their duty to protect their employees from workplace discrimination.”

The lawsuit was commenced by the EEOC’s Baltimore District Office, a part of the Philadelphia District. The Philadelphia District Office has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and parts of New Jersey and Ohio. Attorneys in the Philadelphia District Office also prosecute discrimination cases in Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia.

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