Longtime BMW Temp Files Racism, Sexism Report With EEOC

She has been put on paid leave from her position at Mini.

byCaleb Jacobs| PUBLISHED Jul 25, 2017 5:02 PM
Longtime BMW Temp Files Racism, Sexism Report With EEOC

After ten years of working as a temp for BMW North America, Michelle Savoy has officially filed racism and sexism reports against her employer, according to Automotive News. Working as a part of the company's Midwest Mini division, she has had a large hand in brand operations and recently faced alleged actions such as discriminatory language and treatment in addition to various other claims.

Savoy told AN that she had previously felt valued by the company in her prior years, though actions as of late have turned drastically. She said she was once praised by upper management, but in the report she said that recently she has been consistently degraded by her superiors. This included pay difference, position advancement issues, and harsh verbal treatment. 

After raising a point that she had not received the same treatment as her co-workers that had been with BMW for a similar tenure, Savoy said she was the victim of outlash from the company. She noted that she had yet to be promoted to a permanent position, and then her workload was allegedly cut along with working hours. Another report said that Savoy was accused of time-card fraud by the brand as well.

When asked by Savoy about the discrimination, her manager, a white male, reportedly said: "Well, that's how the Germans operate."

She noted that these actions are often taken against minorities, herself being African-American, claiming "I think the bigger problem is that the bulk of the minority employees at BMW" are temps, Rosenberg told Automotive News. "That's where they all come from. That's where they all tend to stay," he said. "If you look at the nontemp workers, it's many less minorities involved there."

AN reached out to BMW following contact with Savoy, and received the following response:

"It is our normal policy not to discuss any pending investigation or litigation. BMW of North America does not tolerate any discriminatory treatment of workers within the workplace and takes any such allegations seriously," a spokesman wrote in an email. "The company is aware of these allegations and has initiated an investigation looking into these matters further."

Savoy filed the complaint with the EEOC that detailed her experience with unfair treatment during her ten-year stay. This included all of the aforementioned allegations, and if a resolution cannot be reached, then she has the right to sue file a federal discrimination complaint against BMW, according to her lawyer, Jeff Rosenberg.

She was reportedly put on paid leave once she made the statement to the agency, "enough is enough." This came following sexual harassment claims when a co-worker supposedly asked if she "wanted to be spanked", among other instances.

This is only the beginning of what could be a lengthy battle between Savoy and the Bavarian automaker, one that could go on for months to years.