BMW of North America says it is investigating claims of racism and sexism in its Mini division after a decadelong temporary worker lodged a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The complaint also says the company retaliated against her illegally, after she asked about becoming a permanent employee.
Michelle Savoy, a regional market coordinator for Mini's central region in Illinois, said she has carried a substantial workload as a temp for 10 years. Until she was put on paid leave in mid-April, her duties included coordinating auto-show logistics, accounting, event planning and dealer communications, she said. As part of those duties, she regularly solicited contracts on behalf of the organization, created and issued legally binding vendor purchase orders, handled a company credit card and assisted with employee onboarding.
When Savoy spoke with a manager about her temp status in September and raised concerns that much of the company's employee diversity was clustered within its contingent work force, she said he responded by cutting her hours, reducing job responsibilities and making sudden allegations — which he later recanted — about her committing time-card fraud.
Savoy, who is African-American, said she had been highly praised during her tenure, including by the manager who allegedly retaliated against her. He had said in the past that she was the brain of the operation, and that he wouldn't stand a chance without her, she said. The manager couldn't be reached for comment.