Claims of Harassment Against Afghanis Cost $550,000

April 8, 2004
“What I remember is, I remember hatred.”

That’s what one Afghani employee said of her employment at an auto dealership in northern California, a problem that’s going to cost her former employer more than half a million dollars.

The U.S. EEOC announced a $550,000 settlement April 6 with Barber Dodge and Fairfield Toyota, part of the Barber Dealer Group, a network of auto dealerships in Solano County, California. This resolves a federal lawsuit that alleged harassment of seven Afghani employees, with name-calling such as "terrorists" and "thieves." The incidents were not a result of the terrorist attacks in the United States; they occurred in 2000.
Barber Dodge and Fairfield Toyota deny all charges but have agreed to resolve the lawsuit. The dealerships will pay the seven former employees $550,000, and will conduct training to prevent future discrimination, revise anti-discrimination policies and implement an effective complaint procedure.

The EEOC says it’s particularly concerned with discrimination against Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian communities. EEOC District Director H. Joan Ehrlich says the agency “will not hesitate to sue employers who have allowed such behavior to infect their workforce."