Don’t Pass the Salt: Diversifying Effort Gone Awry Costs Employer $50K in EEOC Settlement

A car detailing business in Oklahoma should have “held the salt” rather than attempt to sprinkle a little on its workforce by diversifying it.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sprinkling the salt for this company meant firing African American employees and replacing them with white and Hispanic employees.

The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that the area manager of On Sight K.C. LLC,  which performed automobile detailing services for Joe Cooper Ford in Midwest City, Okla., told Douglas Williams, the African-American manager of its detailing crew at Joe Cooper Ford, that On Sight wanted to “sprinkle a little salt” at the worksite.

The area manager explained that he meant terminating black employees and replacing them with “whites and Mexicans.” Within a few days, Williams was demoted and replaced by a Hispanic manager, who then fired three African-American detailers and hired one Hispanic and two Caucasian employees.

On Site is paying $50,000 to settle this race discrimination lawsuit, the EEOC announced on November 15.

After EEOC began its investigation, On Sight dissolved its business and divided its clients between OnSite Solutions, LLC and two other related entities. The three companies shared a combination of owners, employees, and clients with the original On Sight. EEOC’s claims against the other two defendants – Dealership Management Services, Inc., and DMS-OK, Inc. – are still pending and were not resolved by this consent decree.

“After decades of civil rights law enforcement, racism in the workplace remains a persistent problem,” said James R. Neely, Jr., director of EEOC’s St. Louis District Office. “Regardless of an employer’s personal beliefs, or the preferences of their clients, they may not make employment decisions based on race.”

Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney for EEOC’s St. Louis District, said, “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 remains as relevant today as when it was enacted. And when employers violate the law, they may not evade liability for their discriminatory conduct by corporate restructuring.”

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