Settlement requires Paramount Auto Service to pay the former employee $60,000, change its policies, and provide anti-discrimination training
4/7/2022 4:14:22 PM
[St. Paul, MN] The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) today announced a settlement agreement with Linn Retail Centers, Inc., the owner of Paramount Auto Service, after finding the company violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act by retaliating against an employee and refusing to meaningfully address workplace racial and sexual harassment.
“When someone reports that they are being sexually harassed by their supervisor and that their supervisor is repeatedly calling them a racial slur, a company has an obligation to take the complaint seriously. That’s not what happened here. When its employee courageously reported the harassment, the company instead made this employee’s life miserable and ultimately pushed him out of the job,” said Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero. “This case is a reminder that employers have an obligation to immediately investigate and address any concerns of harassment and failure to do so is a violation of Minnesota’s civil rights law.”
This announcement comes during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which brings attention to the fact that living free from sexual harassment and assault is every Minnesotan’s civil right.
MDHR’s investigation found that a manager at Paramount Auto Service’s Rosemount store sexually harassed employees. MDHR’s investigation also found that the manager abused his position of power by intimidating employees and preventing them from speaking up. Paramount Auto Service was aware of this unlawful conduct and refused to take meaningful action to hold the manager accountable.
When a Latino employee told Paramount Auto Service that this same manager repeatedly called him by a racial slur and sexually harassed him, the company again refused to take meaningful action. Instead, the company ignored the employee’s complaints and retaliated against him by forcing him to quit his job.
Paramount Auto Service used several strategies to push the employee out of his job. Rather than take immediate action to remove the harasser, the company required the employee to relocate to a different store, causing him to have a longer commute. The company also reduced the employee’s pay by giving him less favorable hours and assigning him work that resulted in lower commissions.
The settlement agreement resolves the case and requires Paramount Auto Service, in part, to:
MDHR will monitor the company’s compliance with the two-year agreement.
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is the state's civil rights enforcement agency. If you believe you experienced discrimination covered under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, call the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or submit this online form.