Salesman alleges he was forced to resign from Autoplex due to racial discrimination

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Mar 22, 2010

An African-American man claims he was forced to resign his position as a salesman because of his race.

Alleging violations of the Civil Rights Act, Greg E. Mitchell of Beaumont filed suit against Mike Smith Autoplex Inc. and Group 1 Automotive on March 11, in the Beaumont division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Hired as a salesman in May 2005 and promoted to assistant sales manager in 2006, Mitchell states he was next in line for a promotion to the sales manager position in February 2007, but was denied the position due to his race.

According to the complaint, instead of promoting Mitchell, the autoplex promoted a less experienced and skilled Caucasian worker. Mitchell argues that he complained to management about the deviation from their standard promotion practices.

The plaintiff claims he was told his position as assistant sales manager was being eliminated and he was demoted back to a sales position, according to the suit. The day after his demotion, Mitchell states the defendants hired a Caucasian to perform his former duties.

Four days later, he was resigned his employment with the defendants. "The work atmosphere was no longer healthy for him," the lawsuit states.

The plaintiff alleges his civil rights were violated because of his race.

"After complaining to management of maltreatment, Plaintiff was subsequently and repeatedly harangued, demoted, and ultimately forced to resign," the complaint states.

Mitchell is asking the court to issue a permanent injunction to stop the defendants from continuing to violate his civil rights.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for back pay, reinstatement, front pay, statutory relief, compensatory damages for pain and mental suffering, attorney's fees, court costs and interest.

Houston attorney Katrina S. Patrick is representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark will preside over the litigation. Jury trial requested.

Case No 1:10cv00148

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