Former employee claims racial discrimination at car dealership led to termination

Kyle Barnett Sep. 24, 2012, 2:16am

Gerry Lane dealership

BATON ROUGE – A former salesman at a local car dealership claims he was wrongfully terminated after being subjected to racial discrimination.

Alester Jones filed suit against Gerald R. Lane and Gerry Lane Inc. in the 19th Judicial District Court on Aug. 7.

Jones claims he was employed as a sales associate at the defendant's auto dealership located at 6505 Florida Blvd. in Baton Rouge.

The plaintiff, who is of Native American heritage, claims the work environment he was exposed to was racially hostile and salesmen were openly questioned about their ethnic background and at least one individual was called "Nigga-Ho" openly.

Jones asserts that Lane used racial slurs and insults and often harassed him as well as the dealership's black salesman. The plaintiff claims Lane also placed his hands on people in the workplace and tapped him in the genitals and buttocks.

Jones alleges that as an employee he was exposed to subhuman treatment such as Lane allegedly saying he did not look smart and threatening to "scalp" him.

Jones claims that the abuse would often take place during morning meetings and he would feel demoralized and be unable to sell cars, thus affecting his ability to earn money on commission sales.

The plaintiff asserts that when he complained to those in management about Lane's alleged behavior he was told Lane was just "old school" and would soon be gone from the dealership.

Jones alleges that he was terminated after questioning his employer about a "bonus tax" deducted from his paycheck, which he claims was an illegal deduction. The plaintiff claims that his termination was also part a pattern of constant discrimination.

The defendant is accused of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for conscious pain and suffering, physical injury, great mental distress, humiliation, emotional distress, loss of income, loss of benefits, loss of wages, loss of promotion, defamation and loss of employability.

Jones is represented by Gonzales-based attorney Jean-Paul Robert.

The case has been assigned to Division F Judge Timothy Kelly.

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