October 28, 2016
Bookmark and Share


NEW YORK -- Automall Imports, Ltd., doing business as Atlantic 
Chevrolet / Cadillac, will pay $127,500 to two former black employees to 
settle a racial harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment 
Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. 

The EEOC's lawsuit (Civil Action No. 08-cv-03986(LDW)(ETB) in the 
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Central Islip Division) 
charged that Atlantic Chevrolet / Cadillac in Bay Shore subjected Michael 
Opurum and Pierre Medard to racial harassment and failed to take any prompt 
effective remedial action after Opurum complained. The EEOC said that 
Atlantic Chevrolet / Cadillac hired Opurum, a 16-year-old high school student, 
in 2005 as a part-time student apprentice technician through the Board of 
Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) program. Service Center employees 
began to harass him on a regular basis by making racially derogatory 
statements and using racial epithets and slurs, including use of the "N-word," 
the suit charged. The company also permitted the display of racist symbols 
and signs, including a noose, in the workplace until Opurum finally cut it 

The lawsuit further asserted that Opurum and his BOCES Program Coordinator 
complained to Opurum's supervisor, but the hostile work environment 
continued. Opurum was called a "snitch" because he complained and forced 
to resign after the situation became intolerable. Medard was subjected to 
the same racially hostile work environment, according to the lawsuit. 

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which 
prohibits race discrimination. 

"What happened to these vulnerable young workers was disgraceful 
and illegal," said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. "The EEOC is here 
to halt this kind of workplace abuse and bring a measure of justice and relief 
to victims like Michael Opurum and Pierre Medard " 

Besides the monetary damages, Atlantic Chevrolet / Cadillac will also pay 
compensatory damages, uniform and lost tools, and lost vacation time, plus 
attorney fees for Opurum's lawyer. The three-year consent decree settling 
the suit includes injunctive relief enjoining Atlantic Chevrolet / Cadillac from 
race discrimination, harassment or retaliation. The company must adopt non-
discrimination policies and complaint procedures; conduct anti-discrimination 
training; issue a memorandum to all employees of its commitment to abide by 
all federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination; post a notice about the 
EEOC and the lawsuit; and perform ongoing monitoring and reporting. 

"This was a shocking case of racial discrimination where employees 
who were supposed to be mentors and teachers to a young high school 
student turned out to be his harassers," said EEOC Trial Attorney Kurt 
Jung. "All employees, no matter how old or young, have a right to work in an 
environment free of racial harassment."

Spencer H. Lewis, director of the EEOC's New York District Office, 
added, "Employers must recognize that they have a responsibility to prevent 
racial harassment in their workplace and to take swift action to correct it 
when it occurs. The EEOC is committed to eliminating racial discrimination in 
the workplace and to protecting teens from unlawful discrimination."

The EEOC is the federal government agency responsible for 
enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. Further 
information about EEOC is available on the agency's web site at 

Back to top
| Back to home page

White House Live Stream
alsharpton Rev. Al Sharpton
9 to 11 am EST
jjackson Rev. Jesse Jackson
10 to noon CST


Sounds Make the News ®
Atlanta - WAOK-Urban
Berkley / San Francisco - KPFA-Progressive
Chicago - WVON-Urban
KJLH - Urban
Los Angeles - KJLH - Urban
WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
New York - WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
New York - WADO-Spanish
WBAI - Progressive
New York - WBAI - Progressive
Washington - WOL-Urban

Listen to United Natiosns News