Twin Cities auto shop to pay employee it forced to quit $60K

An auto service shop in Rosemount will pay a former employee $60,000 after it forced an employee to quit his job after reporting a manager racially and sexually harassed him. 

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) on Thursday announced a settlement with Linn Retail Centers Incorporated, which owns Paramount Auto Service in Rosemount, after the company violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act. 

According to MDHR's investigation, a manager at Paramount Auto Service sexually harassed employees, and then used his position of power to prevent them from speaking up about the harassment. And when an employee, who is Latino, reported the same manager repeatedly called him a racial slur and sexually harassed him, the company refused to take action and instead ignored his complaints. The company forced him to quit his job by relocating him to a different store, reducing his pay and assigning him work that resulted in lower commissions.

"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," MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said in a statement. "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." 

As a result of this settlement, the company will pay the former employee $60,000; provide training to employees, managers, and human resources staff on the importance of creating a welcoming and discrimination-free workplace; update and enforce its policies to make sure the company prohibits retaliation and ensures no one is forced to move stores if they report discrimination; and start an investigation within 24 hours of receiving a complaint of discrimination. 

The MDHR will monitor the company's compliance with this two-year agreement, the release says.

Those who have experienced discrimination can contact the MDHR by calling 1-833-454-0148 or submitting this online form