EEOC v. Lithia Motors, Inc., d/b/a Lithia Dodge of Cherry Creek, et al.

No. 1:05-cv-01901 (D. Colo. March 8, 2006)

# The Denver District Office filed this Title VII lawsuit alleging that Lithia Motors (the eighth largest automobile retailer in the U.S.) and Lithia Dodge of Cherry Creek (an Aurora, Colorado subsidiary of Lithia Motors) maintained a racially hostile work environment and subjected charging party to unequal terms and conditions of employment based on his race (black), and constructively discharged CP in retaliation for his complaints about discrimination. CP had been employed at Cherry Creek Dodge since 1998 or 1999, before Lithia bought it. In January 2003, Lithia transferred a white employee to Cherry Creek Dodge as the new General Manager (GM). Defendant had previously disciplined the new GM for "anger management issues." Shortly after the GM's arrival he made racial remarks to CP (perjorative comments about "BP time" (black people time) and remarking that he'd fired "a bunch of you people already") and subjected CP to less favorable treatment than whites (screamed obscenities at him more frequently and required him to undergo a drug test when no reasonable grounds existed for so doing while not testing a white employee known to be intoxicated at work). After CP filed an internal complaint on April 29, 2003, the new GM berated the personnel coordinator for assisting with CP's complaint and intensified his harassment of CP. CP resigned on May 16, 2003, having heard nothing from headquarters about his internal complaint. Defendant subsequently counseled the GM regarding unacceptable behavior. The Phoenix District Office resolved this case through a 4-year consent decree providing CP and two other former black employees with $562,470 in monetary relief ($320,000 to CP and $142,500 and $100,000 to the two other claimants). Defendants are prohibited from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.

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