A former employee is suing Mike Smith Autoplex and Group 1 Automotive, claiming he was forced to resign from the Beaumont car dealer because of his race.
Greg E. Mitchell, who is black, was hired as a salesman in 2005 and promoted to assistant sales manager in 2006. But he lost out on a 2007 promotion to sales manager. He says the reason was his race. Mitchell argues that the company deviated from its standard promotion practice by promoting a less qualified white employee instead of him.
He complained to, but was told that his position was being eliminated and that he was being demoted back to his starting sales position.
According to Mitchell, however, the dealer soon hired a white worker to perform his former duties. Mitchell then resigned.
Mitchell is seeking damages for back pay, reinstatement, front pay, statutory relief, compensatory damages for pain and mental suffering, attorneys’ fees, court costs and interest, in addition to a permanent injunction to stop the dealer from continuing to violate his civil rights.
Final notes: The quickest road to the courthouse is to tell an employee his job has been eliminated and then turn around and hire a new employee outside the first employee’s protected class to perform the old duties. It doesn’t help to call the new position something else.
Remember Shakespeare’s adage that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Judges take note when the rose stinks.
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