Fired African-American Car Salesman’s Lawsuit Can Proceed

An African-American who claims he was subjected to racial discrimination and a hostile work environment — only to be fired — has been allowed by a U.S. District Court to pursue a lawsuit against his former manager and the dealership where he worked.

John Pendleton, who worked as a salesman at Bob Frensley Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee from February 26, 2014 to April 26, 2014, claimed his manager, Thomas Mowell, made “racially inappropriate comments every day,” according to an article from Automotive News. Mr. Pendleton said “it was sickening just having to work there” and to “be around” Mr. Mowell. Mr. Pendleton’s lawsuit also alleges that he complained to Mr. Mowell and another manager about the treatment he received, but neither manager resolved the issue, nor did they report the complaint to the dealership’s owner.

Mr. Pendleton claims he was fired when we got into an argument with two white salesmen who he accused of taking a possible sale from him. During the argument, one of the salesmen allegedly punched Mr. Pendleton. Those two salesmen were neither fired nor suspended, but the one who assaulted Mr. Pendleton received only an “employee warning.” It was later learned that one of the white salesmen was also involved in an incident involving another African-American employee, who, like Mr. Pendleton, was terminated after the incident, but the white salesman faced no such disciplinary action.

Mr. Mowell, who was fired in December 2014, and the dealership claim the allegations are false and that Mr. Pendleton was “administratively discharged” for failing to return to work after the incident.

The Court ruled that there was enough evidence of racial discrimination, a hostile work environment and retaliation for the lawsuit to proceed and allowed Mr. Pendleton to seek punitive damages. The trial is scheduled to begin on September 12.

If you believe you have faced racial discrimination or harassment by your employer or have been wrongfully terminated, contact an experienced New York employment law attorney who can ensure that your rights are protected. Call Steven Mitchell Sack at (917) 371-8000 or email him at sms@StevenSack.com.

 

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