(AP) As an aspiring racing official, Mauricia Grant had grown used to working in a man's world.
When she finally made it into NASCAR, Grant was appalled at the way she says she was treated beginning from her first day on the job until her firing last October.
Now she's suing NASCAR for $225 million, alleging racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination.
"I loved it. It was a great, exciting, adrenaline-filled job where I worked with fast cars and the best drivers in the world," Grant told The Associated Press. "But there was an ongoing daily pattern (of harassment). It was the nature of the people I worked with, the people who ran it, it trickled down from the top.
"It's just the way things are in the garage."
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 the lawsuit, she 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, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, lists 23 specific incidents of alleged sexual harassment and 34 specific incidents of alleged racial and gender discrimination beginning when she was hired in January 2005 through her October 2007 firing.
NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the organization had not yet reviewed the suit.
"As an equal opportunity employer, NASCAR is fully committed to the spirit and letter of affirmative action law," Poston said, adding NASCAR has a zero tolerance policy for harassment.
In the lawsuit, Grant said she complained numerous times to her supervisors about how she was treated, to no avail. On one occasion, Grant said Nationwide Series director Joe Balash, her immediate supervisor, was dismissive of her complaints, explaining her co-workers were "former military guys" with a rough sense of humor. "You just have to deal with it," she says Balash told her.
On another occasion, she alleged Balash participated in the harassment.
"Does your workout include an urban obstacle course with a flat-screen TV on your back?" she claimed Balash asked her during the week of July 28, 2007 while working in Indianapolis.
Grant told the AP her two younger sisters witnessed racial discrimination against the official while visiting her at Daytona International Speedway in 2006 and encouraged her to document every incident going forward.
The lawsuit details a series of those alleged incidents:
Grant was forced to work outside more often than the white male officials because her supervisors believed she couldn't sunburn because she was black.
While riding in the backseat of her car pool at Talladega Superspeedway, co-workers told her to duck as they passed race fans. "I don't want to start a riot when these fans see a black woman in my car," she claims one official said.
When packing up a dark garage at Texas Motor Speedway an official told Grant: "Keep smiling and pop your eyes out 'cause we can't see you."
When she ignored advances from co-workers, Grant was accused of being gay. She also claimed co-workers questioned the sexual orientation of two other female officials.
After her termination, Grant said she went over her notes and recognized "a pattern of retaliation and discrimination."
"It didn't diminish my love for the sport of auto racing, but the job wasn't always the easiest thing to go to every day," she said.
Grant said she routinely complained to her supervisors. Two weeks after her final complaint, Grant said she was warned during the week of August 18, 2007 at Michigan International Speedway that she had engaged in "conduct unbecoming of a NASCAR representative" and would be fired unless she changed her behavior. She said the warning stemmed from a confrontation with a track official who stopped her as she passed through a gate to use the restroom.
Roughly two months later, Grant was fired, and NASCAR cited a poor work performance in ending her employment. The lawsuit claims other than a previous warning for using "street" language, Grant had never been disciplined for job performance and routinely received positive reviews.
"It is time for NASCAR to realize that not everbody is going to be bought off and not file a complaint," said Grant's attorney, Benedict P. Morelli of Morelli Ratner PC. "Not everybody is going to be intimidated and not file a complaint. Not everybody is going to be blackballed and not file a complaint."
In addition, the suit claims official Heather Gambino was fired in 2006 for complaining about a sexually hostile work environment. The suit also claims former official Dean Duckett, who is black, was reprimanded and ultimately fired last November for using "aggressive language toward a white co-worker."
Among those identified in Grant's suit are Balash, assistant series director Mike Dolan, supervisors Alan Shephard and Dennis Dillon, NASCAR's senior manager for business relations, the human resources director and 17 of Grant's fellow officials. All of the defendants are white.
"My supervisors all praised me. I was hanging in there with the guys," she said. "I am an athletic person. I went over the wall and faced malicious crews and competitive crew chiefs, and I was right there and held it down and was never lazy about it.
"And I knew that once I was terminated, there wasn't going to be an opportunity for me to find another industry like NASCAR to practice my craft."
Those who are still "ignorant" better wake up and open their eyes. You reap what you sow. It seems like the more blacks are hated on, the higher we rise as one! Apparently Senator Obama is about to break all barriers, God is not sleep!!
its so sad, this is an important story with the LEAST amount of comments...i'm sure that means its the lest read.
on the other hand , my question is:
WHEN ALL THIS WAS GOING ON, WHAT WAS HER RESPONSE?
DO NOT CALL AL ***..DOOO NOOT CALLL HIIIMMMMM
we need to speak for our selves!!
I heard about this already... But *** what a shame.
I sued NASCAR for being a useless "sport," but the Judge threw it out. True Story.
biatch is lying. how the hell do you come up with a figure like $225 million? wtf?
I used to drive amateur race cars, came in 2nd place, then had dreams of going to Nascar. I changed my mind when I heard with the fans & audience, it's a lot of hillbillies & rednecks. They may have a tooth missing, sometimes they don't wear *** or shoes. That was not the element I wanted to be around.
Face it NASCAR and Horses (i.e. polo, racing,rodeo) are the only sports white people have that hasn't been dominated by blacks and they can't stand it.
With the exception of Black rodeo...negros don't stand a chance!
this doesn't suprise me at all.after tiger wood came on the golf scene, nascar soon became the most racist organization in the world by far.the white folks in this enterprise don't want black in this sport whatsoever but its not like blacks aren't in this sport right now or were ever in it before.this should be the most read story because nascar is a true hotbed for racisim that must be crushed!yeah....mr.*** can get in this one if he likes, but his work is already cut out for him.please black folks,don't support ANYTHING that pertains to the sport of auto racing till their leaders can confidently say that sexism and racisism is not tolerated by any means.
First off there are a lot of blacks who like Nascar. I ain't one of them. I have been to Texas speedway motorpark once in 04 with a bunch of my military buddies and we were black. They where from North Carolina and was tryin to get me into the sport. I couldn't cause all we did was watch a guy drive a car in a circle 250 laps (3 hrs). What would make me want to watch a guy drive 3 hrs f***ing with no destination. Who have to have zero brain cells for that sport to keep your attention.lol But the tailgatin outside was the ***. One thing is for sure they knew how to grill and get *** up. I was too drunk. Good thing we make back safe. It was some questionable characters there (racist MF). Over all they didn't mind us being black.
"Does your workout include an urban obstacle course with a flat-screen TV on your back?"
SEE THIS THE TYPE OF *** THAT MAKE U PUNCH A WHITE *** STRAIGHT IN THE MOUTH. AND THEY SAY AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL, *** ONLY IF U WHITE. NASCAR IS SOOOOO TRASH. THEY JUST LEFT DOVER AND AIN'T NOTHING BUT REDNECKS WITH TRAILERS.
Sad. What's even sadder is the fact that it doesn't surprise me one whit... I hope she gets what she's suing for - hell, I hope she gets enough to bankrupt NASCAR! LOL.
@ not_1_2_hate -
Too funny! How is that ish even a sport, let alone exciting?? I saw a comedian once who described it best... "He's making a left turn! Now he's making a left turn! He's making another left!...."
Doesn't surprise me.
Who in the hell wants to watch three *** hours of nothing but left turns. NASCAR has got to be the dumbest thing. NASCAR execs know that 99.4% of black people don't like or watch NASCAR so they don't try to get black fans.
I fell bad for the sister. Get that redneck money girl.
First off NASCAR, NFL, ESPN, NBA, and you don't even have to mention NHL/MLB are all racist-ran microcosms of the US. Nascar doesnt want black fans or to integrate. They are perfectly happy with keeping it a backwoods entity. But they want the corporate dollars, so they were forced to integrate. Notice there is still no black drivers (I guess chauffeurs don't count).
They are all racist--
NFL - Blocked the purchases of the Minn. Vikings by a brother, who they "claimed" had financial issues in favor of guess who?
ESPN - Jewish owned private sports entity that controls the most influential outlet for sports information. It is no surprise that they try to discredit an NBA official, who worked the *** games that he fixed. But the NBA commissioner is of what religion? Known for publicizing even the smallest infraction by African Amer. athletes.
NBA - Raising the age limit to enter the league was specifically intended to lessen the number of HS Students (85% of which are African American)elgible to enter the NBA-Still OKs Europeans w/o diplomas. 1 Black owner/cooner in a league that is 85% black.
Despite 80% of the players in the NFL/NBA being African American:
Less than 10% of the total refs are African Amer
Less than 25% of the coaches are black
Less than 2% of the owners are black
What we really need to do is develop our own leagues, with our own rules, and our own sports stations.
I've got 5 on it.
BORN BLACK IN A WHITE MANS WORLD....... AS PAC USE TO SAY....
I swear...white folks got it easy, especially white men...the world is their playground...dayum shame.
First of all I can't stand NASCAR...what kind of sport is that watching someone drive around and around for 3hrs. I'd rather watch kids play than NASCAR....anyway, I feel for her but if it ain't meant to be with NASCAR perhaps she can be her own boss and start something new ...
How can she say this("I loved it. It was a great, exciting, adrenaline-filled job where I worked with fast cars and the best drivers in the world,") and then say this( "Grant was appalled at the way she says she was treated beginning from her first day on the job until her firing last October."). Something is not adding up.
She 'bout to git paid 4 sho....
I receive tons of calls from average Americans everyday, I notice how clueless people are about simple things that could only be fixed by reading a lil bit. We grown accustomed to be told what to do without using much of our natural human nature to know what is right and what is totally wrong and ignorant.
DON'T WORRY WE TAKIN OVA THAT SPORT SOON TOO....WHITEY WILL BE CRYIN SILLY
She either has been living in a cave or she suffers from some form of black denial. The more that things appear to change the more that they remain the same. Why would she think that she would be accepted and welcomed with open arms in the patriarcal good ole boy network. It is what it is and it's never going to change. I wish her success in her legal action against Nascar.
SHE CAN WORK WHERE EVER SHE WANTS! SHE SHOULD SUE THEIR A** THAT MONEY SHE'S ASKING FOR IS NOTHING TO NASCAR. WHITE PEOPLE SWEAR THEIR HARD BUT WILL SEE WHO GETS THE LAST LAUGH. BECAUSE THE CLOCK IS SAYING TIC TOC DOC.
"Keep smiling and pop your eyes out 'cause we can't see you." WTH??
Nascar. The epicenter of inbreeding.
The white establishment wants to have yet another sport that margializes BLACKS ~ Sadly, horseracing was once a BLACK dominated sport until it became so widely popular and BLACK jockeys were becoming as wealthy or wealthier that the spectators and racetrack owners! Look up Oliver Lewis rider of the first Kentucky Derby winner Aristides, Jimmy Winkfield winner of the Kentucky Derby in 1901 and 1902 and Isaac Murphy who won 44% of all his races. Anyway,
I digress...I read this article a couple of days ago and I was not surprised. In fact, she was brave to even apply for a job, let alone, work for nastyassracistcar! nascar is going to end up being owned and operated by this BLACK WOMAN...Now what, [EXPLETIVE]!
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