3 fired employees sue truck driving school, claim they were told to discriminate BALTIMORE CITY

February 10, 1993|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff Writer

Three former employees of a Massachusetts-based truck driving school have filed suit charging that they were fired because they refused to go along with a plan to reduce the number of blacks in the school's Baltimore branch.

Mark Greenberg, president of the New England Tractor Trailer Training School, ordered the employees to avoid recruiting in Baltimore because the city's population is "too black," according to suits filed last week in city Circuit Court.

Melvin L. Toliver, who says he was fired last February after a year and a half as director of admissions, claims in a suit that Mr. Greenberg ordered him to use a map of metropolitan Baltimore with different colored push pins -- white pins for white students -- to show the racial composition of each new class. He says in the suit that Mr. Greenberg also posted a chart listing Zip codes with heavy black populations that were off-limits for recruiting.

The three suits filed by the former employees contend that the school, NETTTS, employed stricter standards for admission, student loans and graduation for black students and that the school also discriminated against blacks in hiring and employment practices.

The suits were filed by attorney Kathleen M. Cahill on behalf of Mr. Toliver; Sheila Blue, who said she worked as associate director of admissions from June 1991 until last February; and Mary Lasek, who said she worked as registrar and accountant at the school from September 1990 until last January.

Ms. Blue and Mr. Toliver are black and Ms. Lasek is white, according to the suits.

The suits charge the North Quincy, Mass., school with violating two sections of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and with wrongful discharge and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Ms. Lasek also charges the school with failing to pay her as much as her male counterparts.

Each plaintiff is seeking back pay plus compensatory damages of $500,000 and punitive damages of $1 million.

Norman Polovoy, a lawyer representing NETTTS and Mr. Greenberg, said the complaints may be retaliation for suits filed by the company against Ms. Blue, Mr. Toliver and Ms. Lasek and two other former employees. That suit, which contends the former employees stole company files, is pending in Baltimore County, Mr. Polovoy said. He added, "The company does not discriminate . . . ."

The company operates schools in Connecticut and Massachusetts and on Bush Street in Southwest Baltimore.

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