EEOC Settles Afghani Discrimination Suit

April 8, 2004 ( - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has reached a settlement with a chain of California auto dealerships accused of publicly deriding employees due to their Afghani national origin, dark skin color and Muslim faith.

Under the terms of the Consent Decree signed by U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell, Barber Dodge and Fairfield Toyota, which operates a network of 13 car dealership in Fairfield and Vallejo of Solano County, California, 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, according to a news release.

Further, the Consent Decree resolves the federal lawsuit that alleged constant harassment of the seven employees between June and December 2000, with name-calling such as “terrorists” and “thieves.” The suit also raised charges of constructive discharge and retaliation.

“Strikingly, this behavior all occurred prior to 9-11 but around the time when bin Laden andAfghanistan were in the news related to other terrorist incidents,” EEOC Regional Attorney William Tamayo said in the release . “This case together with another EEOC case settled last March for $1.1 million, involving harassment of Muslim Pakistani steel workers reveals that Middle Easterners and Muslims have been the targets of discrimination for quite some time.”