Business

AutoNation hired a less-qualified male manager. Now, they’ll pay her $150,000

An AutoNation-owned Coral Gables car dealership will pay a former longtime assistant parts manager $150,000 to settle a sexual discrimination lawsuit after the dealership hired a less-qualified man as parts manager, then had her train him.

The lawsuit says AutoNation management told Jacqueline de la Torre that the job “needed a man.”

The cash to de la Torre is part of a consent decree between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the lawsuit, and Abraham Chevrolet-Miami (better known as “AutoNation Chevrolet Coral Gables”) and LP Evans Motor WPB (better known as Mercedes-Benz of Miami”).

For the next three years, both dealerships also must have annual live messages from the general managers on equal employment opportunity and diversity. Also, there will be annual training for managers and employees of certain departments on obeying laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when hiring and dealing with discrimination complaints.

According to the lawsuit filed on de la Torre’s behalf by the EEOC, she started working at AutoNation Chevrolet Coral Gables in 1996 and became assistant parts manager in 2003. During the 10 years de la Torre held that job, she helped run all aspects of the Parts Department, including occasionally doing the manager’s job when necessary. She also let it be known she’d like the parts manager job should the position come open.

The suit says that happened during summer 2013 when the parts manager got bumped up to wholesale parts director. But the dealership never posted the job as open nor did it interview anyone, the suit says.

But suddenly, in August 2013, a new parts manager was announced at a company meeting. He had been a sales associate, so the dealership told de la Torre to train him in his new job.

The dealership felt she was equipped enough to train the parts manager, the suit claims, but not equipped to be the parts manager.

De la Torre was told by management that the dealer “needed a man” for the position, the complaint said. But the “defendants’ management acknowledged that Charging Party was the most qualified candidate for the Parts Manager position, but advised that ‘it was too late to undo things.’ “

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