Former Safelite Driver Sues Company and Former Manager for Discrimination and Retaliation
June 15, 2012

by Katie O'Mara,

Gamal Elliston, a former driver for Safelite, is suing the company and his former manager, Keith Dressler for discrimination and retaliation regarding Elliston’s race and contact with corporate human resources.

Elliston, who is black and of Jamaican descent, was hired in August of 2009 as a driver for Safelite in Commack, N.Y. In December of 2009, Keith Dressler was hired as the manager for the location. Elliston claims that he and his coworkers were, “continuously subjected to discrimination, a hostile work environment and a pattern and practice of discrimination by defendant Dressler solely due to race (non-white and national origin (non-European).”

According to the complaint filed by Elliston his work hours were cut shortly after Dressler began working at the Commack location, which prevented him from access to full-time benefits. Dressler also allegedly refused to complete a performance review for Elliston, which prevented him from an increase in pay, hours and benefits.

Elliston claims that Dressler would frequently make racist comments and “ridiculed plaintiff Elliston’s Jamaican accent and openly mocked him by pretending he could not understand him.”

In addition, Elliston claims that Dressler repeatedly asked him for marijuana and when Elliston replied that he didn’t smoke, the manager said, “All Jamaicans smoke weed.” On another occasion, Dressler allegedly asked Elliston if he came to the U.S. “legally or by boat.”

The former driver claims that he contacted Safelite’s human resources department, but no investigation ever occurred. When Dressler found out about the contact with human resources, Elliston claims he was seeking revenge and Elliston was eventually given termination papers in March of 2011.

"We cannot comment directly on pending litigation, but I can share that Safelite has not been served with the suit and we have not yet had an opportunity to review the allegations thoroughly. Safelite sets high ethical standards for itself as a company and for its employees, and we offer a toll-free ethics hotline in order to prevent / stop any questionable behavior such as discrimination," says Safelite spokesperson Melina Metzger.

Elliston is seeking a monetary award for all lost wages and benefits, past and future, back pay, front pay and compensation for mental, emotional and physical injury.

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