Former Employee Files Racial Harassment and Retaliation Lawsuit Against Al Piemonte Suzuki

The Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander filed a civil rights lawsuit against Al Piemonte Suzuki on behalf of former employee Laurence "Lonnie" Phifer yesterday.  Phifer, an African American, had spent two decades working as a car salesman.  He was employed as a sales representative at the car dealership from August 15, 2011 through April 25, 2012.  According to the allegations in the lawsuit, Mr. Phifer was subjected to numerous racial insults by his white managers, who used the "N" word and made offensive racial jokes.  Oftentimes, management used the intercom system at the dealership to broadcast these racial epithets.  One of his managers text messaged racially offensive photos to him.  Mr. Phifer complained about the hostile work environment to management, but the dealership did nothing.  Toward the latter end of his employment, Mr. Phifer saw a racially offensive cartoon posted in the dealership.  On April 25, 2012, Al Piemonte Suzuki unlawfully retaliated against my client by terminating his employment for the purported reason of “low production.”  Mr. Phifer denies that his sales were low; rather, he was the top grossing salesman at the dealership at the time.   Mr. Phifer is presently unemployed.  Once served, the dealership will have 21 days to formally answer the Complaint.  The filing was widely covered in the media, including NBC, ABC and WGN.
Categories: Employment Law