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An auto shop employee who reported he'd been sexually harassed and called a racial slur was essentially forced out by the business, which responded by giving him a longer commute and less favorable hours.

That's according to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR), which on Thursday announced it had reached a settlement agreement with the the owners of the auto shop in question, Linn Retail Centers, Inc.

MDHR, through its investigation, determined a manager at Paramount Auto Service in Rosemount sexually harassed employees and abused his position of power by "intimidating" those workers, keeping them from speaking up, according to the release. The company knew about this conduct and did nothing to stop it, MDHR said.

The behavior came to light from an employee at the store. According to MDHR:

A Latino worker at the shop reported to Paramount Auto Service that a manager "repeatedly" called him a racial slur and sexually harassed him. 

The company, instead of taking action against the manager to prevent continued misconduct, retaliated against the employee who reported it. The shop pushed the worker out of the job, first by relocating him to a different store, resulting in a longer commute.

The business then reduced the employee's pay by making him work less-favorable hours, and assigning him tasks that resulted in lower commission earnings.

Taken together, these changes essentially forced the worker to quit.

Paramount Auto Service, rather than taking the complaint seriously, "made this employee’s life miserable and ultimately pushed him out of the job,” said MDHR Commissioner Rebecca Lucero in the announcement. 

“This case is a reminder that employers have an obligation to immediately investigate and address any concerns of harassment and failure to do so is a violation of Minnesota’s civil rights law," she continued.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Paramount Auto Service will pay the former employee $60,000, and provide discrimination training to employees, managers, and human resources staff. The business also agreed to update its policies, and start an investigation within 24 hours of receiving any discrimination complaint.

MDHR will monitor the company for two years.

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