Hendrick Automotive Group has until Monday to file a response in federal court to a lawsuit by a former dealership employee alleging he endured years of racist harassment at work.
Lance Blair left his job at Hendrick Toyota Concord in North Carolina in September because a white shop foreman in the service department repeatedly targeted him with racist vitriol, Blair said in a complaint filed this year against Hendrick Cos. in county court in the state. The lawsuit was moved to U.S. District Court in April.
According to the complaint, Blair, a Black man who worked as an assistant manager at Hendrick Toyota Concord starting in 2012, began experiencing harassment in 2014. It became "intolerable" but went unaddressed by management, according to the complaint.
Phil St. George, the shop foreman named in the complaint, allegedly made racist remarks to and about Blair and other Black employees. Additionally, the complaint alleges that Tim Hays, a white service manager at the dealership, did not take sufficient steps to stop St. George.
Hendrick confirmed that St. George's employment was terminated following an investigation in October.
"Discrimination in any form is wrong and unacceptable," the company said in a statement to Automotive News. "A core value of our dealership is mutual respect for and among all of our team members. It is our practice to take seriously, thoroughly investigate and swiftly address reports of discrimination. That process was followed in this matter."
A lawyer representing Blair did not respond to requests for comment. Attempts by Automotive News to reach St. George were unsuccessful. Automotive News also reached out to Hays. Through a message from Hendrick's corporate spokesman, Hays declined to comment.