Racial discrimination complaint against car dealership settled

March 24, 1995|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

A 25-year-old Severn man who claimed he was mistreated and fired from an Annapolis car dealership because of his race has settled the complaint he filed with the Maryland Human Relations Commission for an undisclosed amount of money.

Andre Savoy, of the 7800 block of Tall Pines Court, said he could not, under the terms of the settlement with Criswell Acura, 1701 West Street, disclose the sum.

The management at Criswell declined comment yesterday.

"All I can say is Criswell Acura is an equal opportunity employer and denies all the allegations against it," said Carl Gold, Criswell's lawyer.

Jennifer Burdick, executive director of the commission, also said she could not comment.

The complaint is one of two filed with the commission against Criswell by black employees.

William B. Gross, who also charged that he was subjected to racist jokes and cartoons and mistreated by the company, said he is awaiting word on the results of his complaint.

Mr. Savoy said he was the target of racist jokes and racist cartoons in the six months he worked at the company as a porter before he was fired May 13, 1994.

"I basically got treated unfairly, and then I got fired because I wouldn't work 18 hours a day," he said.

Mr. Savoy said he worked for about six months at Criswell, cleaning cars brought in for servicing, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. He said he routinely was asked to work a second shift if the evening porter failed to show up for work, which meant staying until 10 p.m.

After he had been working at Criswell about three months, he told his supervisors that he wanted to be informed a few hours before his 5 p.m. quitting time if he was to be asked to fill in on the second shift. After that, his supervisors became hostile, he said.

"They told me they could get a Mexican to do my job. I told them to go ahead, and things went downhill from there," he said.

He said that he and Mr. Gross were targeted with racist jokes and with racist cartoons that were circulated in the dealership May 8 and May 10.

Mr. Savoy said that he and Mr. Gross were fired on the same day.

Mr. Gross, who also initially filed a complaint with the Human Relations Commission, said that he also has filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and is awaiting word on its outcome.

Mr. Gross said he was fired after complaining about the racial cartoons and about not being paid overtime for working 48 hours week as a detailer, cleaning and reconditioning used cars being sold by the dealership.

"There's no question in my mind that race was behind this," he said.

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