A former assistant manager in the field office of American Honda Motor Co.'s Acura Division claims that he was passed over for a promotion at the company because he is black.
In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Myron Reed alleges that he was passed over for a manager-level job last year in favor of a Caucasian with less experience.
Reed, 43, who is suing for unspecified damages, claims that he felt pressured to quit his Acura job last May after he protested the personnel move to superiors and filed a grievance with Honda's human resources department.
According to the complaint, when Reed objected to Acura Division Assistant Vice President of Sales Dennis Manns, Manns angrily responded, "I can build careers, and I can damage careers, and your career is now damaged."
Manns also is a defendant in the lawsuit.
Reed's attorney, Terrye Cheathem of Los Angeles, said that Reed, who was assistant manager of product information at Acura, now works for an airline.
The lawsuit claims that American Honda has a "long history of discriminatory treatment toward African-American employees seeking to rise above the level of assistant manager."
The lawsuit asserts: "As of December 2001, in the nearly 41-year history of American Honda Motor Company Inc., no African-American was promoted to the level of manager in the entire Field Sales Organization."
American Honda spokesman Jeffrey Smith said the company could not comment on statements made in pending litigation.
But Smith said, "Honda has a commitment to fairness and diversity and respect for the individual as a basis for all of our operations."