Former Safelite Store Manager Alleges Race Discrimination in Maryland Suit
June 29, 2011

A former Safelite store manager has filed a suit against the company in a federal court in Maryland alleging race discrimination and is seeking $3 million in back pay, compensatory and punitive damages.

Douglas Lester, who describes himself as a “Caucasian male” who worked for the company for 19 years as a store manager at its locations in Columbia, Md., Annapolis, Md., Capitol Heights, Md., and Gaithersburg, Md., filed the suit on June 14 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. He claims that his employment was terminated on November 13, 2009, by a district manager, Jeff Western, who is described in the suit as “an African-American male."

Lester alleges that he was terminated for being “rude during a phone conversation with another employee,” and that he “was not counseled, reprimanded, given a probationary period, given a performance improvement plan, or given any opportunity to correct and improve his actions.”

He further claims that after his termination, “of the remaining four Caucasan store managers, one was terminated and the other was forced out of his position.”

“However, the other six African-American store managers were not terminated or forced from their positions,” writes Lester. “The Caucasian store manager who was terminated was replaced by an African-American store manager.”

Lester says he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on August 10, 2010, and that the EEOC issued a “right to sue” letter to him on March 25.

In addition to charges of race discrimination, Lester also accuses the company of “discriminatory failure to promote,” stemming from the fact that the company allegedly did not tell employees it was looking for a new market manager and hired Jerome Williams, who also is described in the suit as an “African-American male,” to fill the position in August 2009.

“Defendants did not notify the plaintiff of the opening in the market manager position,” writes Lester. “But for defendant’s notification plaintiff would have applied for the market manager position, and been successful in obtaining the market manager position.”

Lester has requested a jury trial in the case. At press time, Safelite officials had not filed a response to the complaint and declined to comment.

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