A salesman for Spring Hill Ford in East Dundee sued the company for race discrimination after he was fired for tardiness. Harland Creal admitted reporting to work 45 minutes late one afternoon in May 2005, but said his supervisor reprimanded him on the showroom floor and then became angry and orally abusive.
But the supervisor testified that it was Creal who became abusive and began cursing loudly, at which point the supervisor told him to pack his stuff and get out. Other employees corroborated the supervisor’s account. Spring Hill later showed that Creal had a pattern of tardiness, which he had been counseled for in the past.
In court, Creal testified that Spring Hill’s attendance policy was lax, and was used as a pretext to fire him because he is black. Creal cited racial comments as evidence, saying his supervisor called him “the second whitest black man” he had ever known, and asked him why it was OK for blacks to use the “n word” but not for whites.
The court dismissed the case, finding that Creal’s reaction to being reprimanded was insubordination, which is a legitimate business reason for termination.