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US car dealer sued for harassment of Afghan Americans

US car dealer sued for harassment of Afghan Americans

Aug 24, 2011 - 11:56

WASHINGTON (PANinfo-icon): A local car dealer in California had been sued by the US Government for harassing its Afghan American employees.

The lawsuit was filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in San Francisco, California after four employees of local car dealership Fremont Toyota registered a complaint against a manager.

According to the EEOC, Fremont Toyota’s General Manger singled out four Afghan-American salesmen during a staff meeting, calling them “terrorists,” asserting that he is the dictator at the car dealership just as a dictator rules Afghanistaninfo-icon, and threatening them with violence. 

After the men reported the harassment, they faced retaliation by the car dealership, according to the EEOC.  The company treated them so poorly that the salesmen felt they had no other option but to resign, the lawsuit says. 

An Afghan-American manager who spoke up in support of the four salesmen was also fired from his job for defending the harassed employees, EEOC said.

“My family fled Afghanistan because of the terrorism, dictatorship and lack of freedom there,” said Mohammad Sawary, one of the salesmen.

“Now in America, this man [the General Manager] lashes out at us out in front of all of our coworkers, calling us ‘terrorists’ and proclaiming himself ‘dictator’ here at Fremont Toyota,” he said.

“Despite the diversity of the Bay Area, people are still being targeted for harassment due to their origins and stereotypes associated with their background.  This type of behavior is not only illegal but it also goes against the grain of who we are -- a nation mostly of immigrants and their descendants,” said EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo.

After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement, the EEOC filed the lawsuit in US District Court for the Northern District of California, seeking monetary damages on behalf of the workers, training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of notices at the work site and other measures to prevent future discrimination, the EEOC said.


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