A former employee is suing Lee Partyka Chevrolet, in Hamden, Conn., alleging the general manager fired him for complaining about what he viewed as a hostile work environment based on race.
The lawsuit alleges General Manager Joe Gallagi referred to Dennis Bellamy and other black employees as "boy" on multiple occasions and threatened to withhold bonuses from employees who took issue with his use of the word, according to a complaint filed March 26 in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.
On three occasions -- twice during the last two weeks of October 2016 and once during the first week of January 2017 -- Gallagi called Bellamy a "good boy," the lawsuit says, alleging the conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The lawsuit cites a private telephone conversation on Jan. 20, 2017, at 5 p.m., in which Bellamy told Gallagi that the other black employees were unsettled by his use of the word "boy."
Two hours later, Bellamy was called into Gallagi's office, where he allegedly told Bellamy that "he did not appreciate being told that the word in such a context was considered racist, and if people thought it was racist, 'F--- them all,'" the lawsuit says, adding that Gallagi said any who expressed this view would not receive a bonus.