BLUEFIELD — A Virginia man is accusing his employer of age discrimination after he says he received more than $50,000 less than his co-workers in similar positions.
Rodrick D. Christian recently filed a federal complaint against Cole Automotive.
Christian began working as a sales manager at Cole Automotive’s Subaru dealership in November 2005, according to the complaint.
While employed by the company, Christian says he performed stellar work. For example, the Cole Subaru dealership was named the gold winner in Subaru’s Sales Manager Circle of Excellence Program in 2006, the suit states.
“This award is determined by which dealership has the highest percentage of its objective goal; and the dealership over which plaintiff was Sales Manager was 21.5%,” the complaint says.
On Jan. 1, 2007, Cole Automotive changed the way it began paying its sales managers, according to the complaint.
“Under this new calculation, while prior to January 1, 2007, each of the three COLE Automotive Sales Managers earned approximately the same amount, using 2006 figures, under the new formula, the Nissan Sales Manager would make $100,737; the Honda Sales Manager would make $108,786; and plaintiff, as the Sales Manager of Subaru, would earn only $44,744,” the complaint says.
In addition, the Nissan sales manager had no prior experience before his promotion, Christian claims.
Christian contends Cole Automotive paid him less than his co-workers because he is 63 and the other sales managers are in their late 30s and early 40s.
“These changes, both in plaintiff’s salary structure, as well as the designation of the Nissan Sales Manager, were designed to force plaintiff to resign from his position at COLE Automotive due to his age,” the suit states.
After the salary changes, Christian talked with William Cole, who made a slight change in his salary, but took it back out in the managers’ required warranty sales, according to the complaint.
Again, on April 21, 2007, Christian attempted to talk to Cole about the salary changes he felt were implemented because of his age, the complaint says.
A few hours later, Cole sent his general sales manager, Ron Hedrick, to tell Christian “it was all over” and to drive home, the suit states.
Christian says he was provided no explanation for his termination.
Christian is asking for back wages and benefits he would have received if he had not been terminated, plus front pay, actual, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney’s fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.
Thomas S. Janutolo of Princeton will be representing him.
U.S. District Court case number: 1:09-0504