A black financial manager at a Subaru dealership in Oregon has filed a federal lawsuit against the dealership’s former general manager for alleged racism and discrimination in the workplace.
On Wednesday, the employee, Tobias Rayfiled a lawsuit against claims that the former chief executive Tony Jimenez subjected him to disturbing racial slurs and discriminatory treatment, Oregon Live reports.
The lawsuit comes after Ray filed a written complaint with his employer on October 30, 2020 and participated in an internal investigation which determined that his complaints were valid.
Ray has worked at Lithia SOC, doing business as Lithia Subaru of Oregon City, since 2018. But in 2020, following the murder of George FloydRay says Jimenez sent a sexually suggestive and racially insensitive picture text message to a select group of employees.
On June 15, 2020, the photo shared by Jimenez showed a naked white man lying on the lap of a naked black woman whose breasts covered her face. “This white man can’t (sic) breathe. But you won’t see this on the news,” the post read.
That same month, Ray walked into the dealership’s break room and noticed a racist image drawn on the whiteboard. It depicted a stick figure with an afro hairstyle with the caption “I love watermelon”.
Ray read other text messages sent by Jimenez to the dealership’s general sales manager, Corey Fay, and Lithia’s sales manager, Ryan Vaughanshowing footage of Ray dressed in casual attire on his day off.
Jimenez compared Ray to a character from the movie Jack’s New Town. Vaughn agreed, saying if the lights were off in the office, they wouldn’t be able to see Ray.
In another encounter, Jimenez reportedly referred Ray to a client by the name of Rodney King. Jimenez told Ray to ask the client, “Can’t we all get along?” After the client left, Jimenez asked if the client was “slow” and suggested he had been “hit in the head with a club one too many times,” the lawsuit states.
Ray’s lawsuit claims after internal investigation Jimenez was not disciplined, Daily Mail reports. He seeks unspecified damages for loss of income, loss of advancement and emotional distress.