Saturday, August 09, 2008
NASCAR issued a rebuttal to former employee Mauricia Grant's claims of sexual and racial harassment on Thursday August 7th, asking the U.S. District Court to dismiss the $225 million lawsuit in a 30-page response filed Friday August 8th, 2008. Media story from the NASCAR website; read previous post HERE.
To recap the case, Mauricia Grant is suing NASCAR for $225 million, alleging racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. The 32-year-old Grant, who is black, worked as a technical inspector responsible for certifying cars in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series from January 2005 until her termination in October 2007.
In the lawsuit, filed June 10th in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Grant alleged she was referred to as "Nappy Headed Mo" and "Queen Sheba," by co-workers, was often told she worked on "colored people time," and was frightened by one official who routinely made references to the Ku Klux Klan. In addition, Grant said she was subjected to sexual advances from male co-workers, two of whom allegedly exposed themselves to her, and graphic and lewd jokes.
The lawsuit lists 23 specific incidents of alleged sexual harassment and 34 specific incidents of alleged racial and gender discrimination. Her suit alleges she was fired as retaliation for complaining to her superiors about the way she was treated by co-workers. Click HERE to read Grant's full complaint in PDF format.
But NASCAR chairman Brian France has maintained there is no record of Grant ever reporting anything, and the response filed by the New York-based law firm Jackson Lewis LLP is consistent with these claims. NASCAR's full response can be viewed HERE in PDF format.
Yet Mauricia Grant continues to insist that she did complain, and followed the chain of command all the way to Nationwide Series director Joe Balash. But she stopped short of telling human resources because she was reprimanded by that department for a separate incident that occurred two weeks after she complained to Balash. She believed the reprimand, which included a threat of termination, as retaliation for complaining to Balash. However, NASCAR claims Grant was reprimanded with a warning of termination for an altercation with a track security guard at Michigan International Speedway who had asked to see Grant's credentials as she passed through a gate.
The response does not indicate why Grant was fired, and NASCAR officials have refused to disclose the reason. But the response claims a pattern of tardiness that she was routinely reprimanded for. NASCAR also claims several of Grant's co-workers complained about her pattern of lateness, and said it often prevented them from promptly performing their job duties.
NASCAR did take some internal action. They placed the two officials accused of exposing themselves, Tim Knox and Bud Moore, on paid administrative leave. A third official, ironically named David Duke (not "our" David Duke, folks), was fired in April 2008 for reasons NASCAR said are unrelated to Grant's suit.
Since filing her suit, court documents uncovered reveal that Grant had a restraining order filed against her in 2002 by a former boyfriend, was arrested for driving under the influence and charged last October for driving with a suspended license. While some may want to dismiss this as irrelevant, the need for a restraining order may imply an unpredictable and vengeful streak on the part of Grant. Vengeance and greed seem to be motivating this suit from top to bottom.
But the so-called "sports media" is piling on against NASCAR. In a column entitled "NASCAR takes wrong turn in smearing Grant", Jason Whitlock, who is black, claims that Mauricia Grant's restraining order and DUI are irrelevant, and recommends NASCAR aggressively broker a settlement and lift themselves out of caveman status. Whitlock's voting his race (but we whites aren't allowed to do that). And ESPN pens a column entitled "NASCAR diversity at the crossroads of troubled past, desired future" which insinuates that NASCAR isn't spending enough money on diversity, etc, etc, ad nauseum. Of course, sportswriters are just jock-sniffers; it's just that they prefer sniffing Negro jock to White jock these days.
It's great to see a corporation defending itself against an ambulance-chasing minority for once. Mauricia Grant's eyes got bigger than her belly, and she's going to pay the price in court.