RENO, Nev. — Champion Chevrolet in Reno, Nev., operated by Hallman Chevrolet Inc., violated federal law by denying opportunities to a female salesperson and creating a workplace environment so hostile she was forced to quit just over six months after her hire, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed last week.
According to the lawsuit, a female car salesperson hired into an all-male sales department was denied access to online training, sales opportunities and payroll advances routinely available to her male counterparts. Her male co-workers frequently refused to assist her, despite readily helping each other. Frequently, her deals were overly scrutinized and rejected without justification.
In addition, on an almost daily basis, she endured offensive comments about her sex, appearance, and weight and negative comments about women working in car sales. Although the discriminatory conditions were reported to management by both the saleswoman as well as a manager, the company took no action. Finally, the saleswoman was forced to quit to escape the abuse, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After first attempting to reach a settlement through its conciliation process, the EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. The agency will seek monetary damages on behalf of the saleswoman, training on antidiscrimination laws, posting of notices at the worksite, and other injunctive relief.
"The saleswoman was warned during her interview that the all-male staff did not want women around."
“Our investigation found that sex-based discrimination was very open and flagrant — the saleswoman was warned during her interview that the all-male staff did not want women around, and that certainly turned out to be true,” said William Tamayo, director of the EEOC’s San Francisco District Office. “When an employer knows its workplace is infected with discriminatory attitudes, the employer is required by law to take steps to prevent and halt a hostile work environment. Instead, Champion did nothing, and forced a valuable employee to quit to escape unacceptable abuse.”