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RACIAL DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST BMW CONCORD BY THE ARMSTRONG LAW FIRM
Four former Hispanic employees tell a story of a dealership that discriminated against both employees and customers that were non-white
San Francisco, CA. – February 18, 2009 – The Armstrong Law Firm, on behalf of four former employees of Import Motors, also doing business as BMW Concord, has filed a lawsuit (Contra Costa County, case number C 09-00376) against the dealership for race discrimination that extends to ethnic minority customers who walk onto the dealership lot looking to buy a car. The former employees all claim in the lawsuit that they were subjected to race harassment and discrimination throughout their employment due to the fact that they are Hispanic. The former employees state that the managers at the dealership made numerous comments to them related to race and national origin. One of the former employees, Alberto Aguilar said that at the beginning of his employment, he was told, “if you want to make it in this store, you have to focus on taking care of Mr. and Mrs. Blue Eyes and Blonde Hair from Alamo. I don’t want you wasting your time with Mr. Patel, Mr. Yang, or Mr. Lopez.” The discrimination practices at BMW Concord also affected minority customers in their pocketbook. According to the complaint, the Caucasian employees were provided with better pricing for the non-minority customers so that they could complete more sales. According to the latest figures from the EEOC in 2006, ethnic minorities at automobile dealerships make up about 30% of the workforce and less than 3% of the management positions. "The plaintiff’s were part of an automotive culture that treated Hispanics and minorities as second-class citizens," said attorney Kelly Armstrong. "It's not surprising that these former employees would claim that BMW Concord would treat its minority customers with the same disdain it had for its employees," added Armstrong. According to EEOC reports, more than 30% of the complaints filed against auto dealers by their employees are race related claims. 1
Despite complaining about the treatment and bringing it to the attention of the dealership, BMW Concord failed to take steps to prevent further harassment and retaliated against the plaintiffs by terminating three of them. These individuals performed as well as their Caucasian co-workers. "BMW Concord has a legal obligation to investigate the conduct of its employees and fix the problem," said Armstrong. "By failing to act quickly and decisively, BMW Concord established a policy and culture within the business that condoned, encouraged and tolerated such discrimination and harassment towards the employees," added Armstrong. Within a short time after the former employees complained about discriminatory and harassing conduct, they were harassed even more, subjected to ongoing racial epithets, and finally terminated. The former employees are Alberto Aguilar, Raul Avila, John Salazar, and Luis Fernandez. Named in the lawsuit is Import Motors, Inc. dba BMW Concord, along with employees Sam Samaha and Dario Juric.