December 04, 2009
The Commission found that Alaska sales and Service violated the Alaska Human Rights Law, which prohibits discrimination because of race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, physical or mental disability, marital status, pregnancy, or parenthood.
During a hearing before an administrative law judge, Commission staff presented testimony by Flakes and another African-American salesman who states that an Alaska Sales and Service sales manager told both of them that they were not chosen for the team leader position because of the color of their skin. Alaska Sales and Service promoted five non=Black salesmen to be team leaders instead.
The Commission ruled that Flakes was qualified for the team leader position and was passed over because of his race. At the time Alaska Sales and Service selected the team leaders in April 2002, Flakes had been selling cars for nearly 18 years, including two years as a sales manager or assistant manager at two other dealerships. He had worked for Alaska Sales and Service for nearly 11 years and had been named the "sales representative of the month" on 12 occasions.
Executive Director Paula M. Haley said the failure to promote qualified individuals simply because of race is an issue the Commission takes very seriously. While some people believe racism is no longer a concern, this decision is a painful reminder that workplace discrimination continues to be harmful to both employees and employers, Haley said.
Employment discrimination claims constitute the vast majority of complaints filed with the Commission. The Commission also investigates claims of discrimination in places of public accommodation, in the sale, lease or rental of real property, in practices by the State or its political subdivisions, and in credit and financing practices, which are also covered by the Alaska Human Rights law.
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