National Tire Accused of Civil-Rights Violations

CHICAGO (Chicago Tribune/TNS) -

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Friday accused National Tire and Battery of civil-rights violations, claiming the auto-repair company’s managers and employees failed to halt the harassment of an Arab and Muslim worker.

A lawsuit filed in federal court in Chicago said the National Tire managers and employees referred to a mechanic as “Taliban,” “al-Qaida,” “bin Laden” and “terrorist,” and accused him of making bombs.

The EEOC alleges that the harassment started in “at least January 2009” and continued through February 2010. It’s unclear whether the mechanic is still employed at National Tire.

An investigation revealed that the company was aware of the harassment and that managers had witnessed it. Despite repeated complaints from the mechanic, management did nothing to stop the harassment, the EEOC said.

“EEOC will hold employers accountable for tolerating this kind of abuse,” John Hendrickson, regional attorney of the EEOC’s Chicago office, said in a statement.

The EEOC wants National Tire’s employees to stop discriminating against people on the basis of race or national origin, for the company to carry out training programs and for the company to compensate the mechanic “in amounts to be determined at trial.”

National Tire, a unit of Florida-based TBC Corp., declined to comment.