Former Auto Glass Now technician Justin Daniel has filed a lawsuit alleging that “Auto Glass Now discriminated against [him] based on his race by terminating his employment.” Daniel is an African American who worked in Auto Glass Now’s Huntsville, Ala., branch. The company denies the allegations and has filed a counterclaim, alleging Daniel signed a non-compete agreement and “it came to Auto Glass Now’s attention that Daniel was operating his own business on the side,” according to court documents.
Daniel claims he was hired as an automotive glass replacement technician in January 2014 and was the only African American installer at the branch.
“Daniel was assigned to the African-American customers,” according to the court documents.
“Oscar Pruitt, the manager who hired Daniel had the habit of making negative comments about the African American customers, saying things to Daniel such as ‘I do not know what is wrong with your people,’” Daniel alleges in court documents.
“Daniel was informed that he was being terminated [in March 2014] because he did not work fast enough and there was video evidence. Daniel replaced windshields as fast as the white installers, with the same or higher quality,” according to court documents.
Daniel claims he was fired due to his race and that the branch “rehired a former white employee to replace [him],” according to the court documents.
In response, Auto Glass Now denies all the allegations. “Auto Glass Now hired Daniel as a trainee on or about January 3, 2014,” according to court documents. “At that time, Daniel entered into a non-compete agreement with Auto Glass Now, wherein he agreed not to engage in ‘any business like selling glass, glass installation or windshield repair outside [his] employer’s company or with any other company while [he was] still employed. … Pursuant to the non-compete agreement, Daniel agreed to pay a penalty of $1,000 per job in the event of a willful violation.”
Auto Glass Now’s attorney claims the company learned in March that “Daniel was operating his own business on the side, performing approximately one to two windshield/window replacements per week. Daniel’s employment at Auto Glass Now was terminated on March 13, 2014, in part due to his violation of the non-compete agreement,” according to court documents.
Auto Glass Now has asked the court to award damages of $1,000 per repair in violation of Daniel’s non-compete agreement, in addition to other damages.
Daniel has asked the court to award him back-pay (plus interest), front-pay, reinstatement into the position he would have held, as well as compensation for loss of wages and benefits.
The trial date is set for January 2016.