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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has reached a $225,000 settlement with a car wash chain for allegedly failing to promote African-Americans in its Birmingham, Alabama-area locations.
The agency said Monday that Tucson, Arizona-based Car Wash Headquarters Inc., which does business as Mister Car Wash and Mister Hotshine and operates more than 250 car washes and 34 lube centers throughout the United States, had failed to promote Antonio Purdom and a class of similarly situated African-American employees to supervisor and management positions.
Instead, in some cases, it promoted less qualified white employees, some with no prior work experience, the EEOC said in its statement. The company was charged with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In addition to paying $225,000 in lost wages and damages, under terms of its three-year consent decree Car Wash Headquarters will take specified actions designed to prevent future discrimination, including creating a transparent and formal promotion policy and application process, the EEOC said.
“The EEOC will continue to hold employers who limit employees’ advancement based on race accountable for such discriminatory conduct,” Birmingham-based EEOC regional attorney Marsha Rucker said in a statement. “This comprehensive settlement will ensure that promotion and other employment decisions are based on an individual’s qualifications and not race.”
Lisa Funk, general counsel for Mister Car Wash, said in a statement: “We took the allegations claimed in this lawsuit very seriously and we stand by our position that Mister Car Wash did not and does not make employment decisions based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information. We are satisfied to put this case behind us so we can move forward confidently and proudly as an Equal Opportunity Employer.”
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was sending a message when the agency recently filed a spate of harassment lawsuits, letting the employer community know that sexual harassment remains an enforcement priority for the agency, according to legal experts.