A former employee has accused Hendrick Toyota out of Concord, North Carolina of subjecting them to”hostile racial harrassment”. Insider reports that the employee, who is Black, quit because of health issues associated with the harassment
The employee, whose name is Lance Blair, has filed a lawsuit against the dealership. Blair was an assistant manager at the dealership from 2014 until 2020. He says the harassment started almost immediately after he started with the dealership. Service shop foreman Phil St. George is named as the instigator, and service manager Tim Hayes is also accused of tolerating the behavior, which included St. George making monkey noises at him, throwing banana peels at him and suggesting his skin be used to check whether window tints were too dark to be legal.
When another employee reported St. George to Hayes, Blair says that employee was told that “some people are just racist.”
Unfortunately, the situation only got worse. Like most instances of racism, when you complain it’s either dismissed, or the dismissals of the accusations somehow lead others to think that since no one is being disciplined for it, that means it’s ok for them to be racist as well. And that’s exactly what happened. In his complaint, Blair states that the lack of discipline for the racism seemed to encourage other white employees to make racist comments and jokes.
Blair resigned in September of ‘20 and St. George was fired shortly thereafter. The dealership issues the following statement to Insider:
“Discrimination in any form is wrong and unacceptable. A core value of our dealership is mutual respect for and among all of our team members. It is our practice to take seriously, thoroughly investigate and swiftly address reports of discrimination. That process was followed in this matter,” the dealership said.
The obvious problem here is the racism wasn’t dealt with from the start. Responses like this mean little after the fact. Blair is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for what happened, I hope he wins.