Toyota to pay $202,000 to settle race discrimination suit

Toyota of Bowie will pay a total of $202,000 to two black men from Landover and Silver Spring to settle a race discrimination suit, said the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Friday.

The EEOC’s lawsuit, filed in 2005, alleges that Charles Dyer of Silver Spring was not hired for the position of sales manager or finance manager in 2004 because of his race. Additionally, the suit alleges Phillip Kennedy of Landover was fired from his position as finance manager in 2004 because of his race.In the settlement, Toyota of Bowie admits no wrongdoing but will pay $100,000 in compensatory damages and $1,000 in attorney fees each to both Dyer and Kennedy.

Toyota’s attorney, Steven Nemeroff, said no record of Dyer’s application was on file with the company and Kennedy had been fired within 30 days of his hire for poor performance.

“˜”˜The personnel records at Toyota of Bowie demonstrate that at least 50 percent of their finance managers in 2004 were black and 57 percent of their sales managers and general sales managers were black,” said Nemeroff in an issued statement. “˜”˜During this same time period, Toyota of Bowie routinely hired black sales representatives and promoted black sales representatives to sales managers.”

The company has never been sued for racial discrimination before and decided to settle to avoid the time and expense of continued litigation, Nemeroff said.

The agreement also requires Toyota of Bowie to provide a minimum of four hours training on employment discrimination laws to its vice president, general manager and all other employees responsible for the hiring and firing of sales managers and finance managers.

“˜”˜It is unfortunate that 44 years after the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employers continue to make unlawful employment decisions based on race,” said attorney for the EEOC Jacqueline McNair.