A Virginia Honda dealership is fighting a former service adviser's racial discrimination suit accusing the store of firing him in retaliation for his complaint about Confederate material on a service technician's tool cabinet.
The material cited by James Bland Jr., who is Black, included a Confederate flag and a tourism brochure with a photo of Gen. Robert E. Lee in uniform. The tool cabinet was in a "very conspicuous place in the service garage," where Bland said he saw it many times a day, according to the suit against Williamsburg Honda. It asserts that the imagery created a hostile work environment and that the store failed to have the technician remove it.
The dealership hired Bland in July 2018 and fired him a year later, "giving no reason aside from stating 'things aren't working out,' " the suit claims.
Williamsburg Honda denied any discrimination, saying in its Sept. 17 court filing that the flag decal was small and outside Bland's view and that he didn't claim it was offensive or ask for its removal. The store argued that it justifiably fired him for violating company policy, failing to meet performance expectations, giving unauthorized discounts and other misconduct.