Man sues C&O Motors over firing

By Justin Anderson | Jun 5, 2009

CHARLESTON -- A man is suing a major local car dealership, saying a co-worker was hostile toward him and he was fired for reporting the behavior.

Joseph Hoylman filed a lawsuit May 14 in Kanawha Circuit Court against C&O Motors; owner James F. Love III; general manager Gene Walker; Ryan Walker, Walker's son and a C&O salesperson; and Jamie Raynes, a finance manager.

Hoylman claims he was hired as a salesperson at Love Toyota in St. Albans in 2003. The next year, he says he was promoted to sales manager there.

During his employment, Hoylman claims he was subjected to a hostile work environment through the actions of Raynes, who allegedly exhibited "aggressive behavior" and "open hostility" towards Hoylman.

The lawsuit says that on Oct. 9, 2008, Hoylman got a call from Jack Buckland, a former saleperson for C&O. Buckland told Hoylman that Raynes had sent him harassing e-mails that were "openly hostile, aggressive, antagonistic and discriminatory" about Hoylman's and Buckland's gender and sexual orientation.

Hoylman claims he and Buckland met with Dustin Jordan, general sales manager at Love, about the e-mails. Jordan referred the matter to Gene Walker, the lawsuit says.

Hoylman says he and Buckland then met with Walker, who expressed dissatisfaction with the e-mails and called in Raynes to meet with them. Raynes allegedly admitted to sending the e-mails.

Hoylman claims he was under the impression that Walker fired Raynes over the e-mails.

The next day, Jordan allegedly told Hoylman that the "s--t had hit the fan" and that Ryan Walker had called his father, Gene, about the termination of Ryan's friend, Raynes.

Hoylman claims he was fired on Oct. 13, 2008 in retaliation for what happened to Raynes. Hoylman claims that Raynes was then re-hired.

The plaintiff also alleges that dealership leaders made it known that they didn't want black people working in sales positions.

Hoylman is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Harry F. Bell is representing the plaintiff. The case is before Kanawha Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 09-C-908

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