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Monday, May 27, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Strip Clubs Were|Part of the Job

ROSEVILLE, Calif. (CN) - Two workers claim AutoNation, the largest auto retailer in the United States, harassed and fired them for refusing to go to strip clubs and bordellos with co-workers.

Joshua McCarty and Kevin Petrie seek punitive damages for wrongful termination, sexual harassment, retaliation, unfair business practices and wage and hour violations, in Placer County Court.

The men claim: "AutoNation and the individual defendants participated in and/or fostered a sexually charged and drug and alcohol infused environment where management would force Josh and other employees to go to strip bars and brothels and would try to get Josh and others to receive sexual acts. In addition, AutoNation and the individual defendants would make sexually suggestive remarks, jokes and other inappropriate communications. AutoNation management (at least one or more) also would take drugs (cocaine and others) and drink alcohol (champagne and other drinks) at company or company sponsored functions. When Josh said he would rather focus on work and did not want to participate in such drunken sexual activities, he was scoffed at, ridiculed and mistreated including a cold shoulder, exclusion from meetings, retaliatory and unjust performance reviews, shorting of pay, mistreatment by Human Resources, decline in further promotions and other adverse employment actions and harassing and retaliatory conduct."

The men claim that "AutoNation has a publicly known prejudice against gay people and, in fact, is subject to various suits regarding such already." Petrie claims his supervisors called him a "faggot," "homo" and other derogatory words, harassed McCarty when he stood up for Petrie, and even harassed customers with such slurs.

McCarty claims the store's general manager, defendant Gerald Gonsalves, sent him a text message, apparently meant for another supervisor, that stated, "blow that motherfucker up tonight and get that 'homo' out of the store."

Within a few weeks, both men were fired, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs are represented by John McCarty of Seal Beach.

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