A longtime car salesman's discrimination suit against his former employer may be heard in U.S. District Court in Tucson, Ariz., this summer.
Plaintiff Ronald Lockhart claims he was denied a promotion, subjected to a hostile work environment and wrongfully fired from Beaudry Motor Co. of Tucson because of a disability. A childhood bout with polio left Lockhart's right leg atrophied and painful and limits his mobility.
The dealership denies any wrongdoing.
Lockhart, 55, seeks $750,000 to $1 million in back and future pay and damages.
Before joining Beaudry in 1980, Lockhart managed a Nissan store in New Castle, Del., from 1970 to 1981 and operated his own dealership, Lockhart Ford-Mercury in Middletown and Odessa, Del., from 1981 to 1986. He sold the stores in 1986 to care for an ill family member in Tucson. He looked for a Ford dealership to purchase there, but none was available.
In 1990, he took a job as a Honda salesman for Beaudry, a multifranchise dealership owned by Robert Beaudry.
Lockhart said he received high customer satisfaction ratings, reached yearly sales goals and earned multiple salesman of the month honors at Beaudry. Beaudry declined to verify those claims.
Lockhart said that from 1992 to 1995, he was denied promotions and was harassed in other ways.
Lockhart filed suit in August 1995 but continued to work for Beaudry. He was fired that fall over a warranty discrepancy on a car he had sold.
His attorney, Milan Tesanovich, said Lockhart has since been unable to secure another job selling cars in Tucson because of defamatory statements Beaudry employees made to other dealers in the area. Lockhart now works for a mortgage broker.
Neil Thomas, attorney for Beaudry, said the dealership denies 'any wrongdoing whatsoever.' He declined to comment further.
Tesanovich said he expects a trial in August.