by Tanasia Kenney (Atlanta Black Star)
The former sales manager at an Indiana Mercedes-Benz dealership says he was subjected to a hostile work environment, then found himself kicked to the curb two years ago after reporting his boss’s racist antics.
Now, he’s suing his former employer for discrimination.
Jeffrey Turner’s lawsuit alleges he was often the target of racist bullying at the hands of his superiors, Indianapolis station WTHR reported. Turner is African-American.
“His race was a regular subject of unwelcome verbal harassment, being referred to as the ‘favorite n—-r,” his attorney said in a press release. “He was also a target for anger over unrelated racial issues.”
The attorney said his client was upset by the pestering and took his complaints to Mercedes-Benz of North America, only to be “fired in retaliation for complaining about the owner’s repeated use of the N-word, including boasting about systematically overcharging African American customers for vehicles, referring to it as ‘n***er scalping,’ ” according to the complaint.
Turner is now seeking compensatory damages and a jury trial. He and his attorney filed the lawsuit last Wednesday.
“Their mantra is the best or nothing, but at this particular moment, I don’t think they are the best,” he told the station of Mercedez-Benz of Lafyette, arguing that despite being one of the dealership’s top performers, he was fired for reporting claims that the business’s owner, Mike Raisor, used the N-word on multiple occasions.
Turner claims Raisor used the slur “like, 6 or 7 times,” including once during a managers meeting. He said his co-workers heard it too, but they brushed it off by saying things like, “Mr. Raisor, he’s old and was raised in a different generation than we are. He didn’t mean anything by it.”
In his complaint, Turner also describes one occasion where he says Raisor lost his cool over Black NFL players’ decision to kneel in protest during the national anthem.
A firm that had been representing the dealership’s owner said Raisor acknowledged using the phrase a “n—-r in a woodpile” during a sales team meeting, but insisted the remark wasn’t directed at Turner or any other Black employees.
However, a letter to the Indiana Civil Rights Commission from Raisor’s attorney denies the dealership owner violated any employment laws or used the racist phrase at all.
Turner argued there’s a systemic issue at the dealership that needs to be rooted out.
“It’s a very good ol’ boy network,” he told WTHR.
Watch more in the video below.