Sussman Motors named in civil rights complaint by former salesman

By Jon Campisi | Aug 20, 2013

A former salesman for a suburban Philadelphia car dealership has filed a

federal civil rights complaint against the business over claims that he was fired in retaliation for speaking out about alleged discrimination.

Brandon Dalton, 54, a resident of Trenton, N.J., filed suit on Aug. 16 in federal court in Philadelphia against Marty Sussman Motors Inc. alleging that he was treated differently because of his age and race.

Dalton, who is black, and began working for the company back in October 2006, claims that he was subjected to a racially hostile working environment beginning in late September 2009 and continuing through his firing in late December 2009.

The plaintiff claims that during that period of time, he was subjected to racially offensive comments, racially insensitive work emails and racially offensive jokes made by his supervisors.

Numerous examples of the allegedly disparaging treatment are outlined in the complaint.

Dalton complained about the treatment on various occasions, the suit says, including the time he complained to management in late 2009 about a racially offensive picture of the plaintiff depicting him wearing a gold chain and sunglasses.

The complaints allegedly led to increased scrutiny including the plaintiff being subjected to “write-ups” to which his younger, white counterparts were not subjected.

Dalton alleges that older and African American employees were either purposely treated poorly in an effort to get them to quit their jobs or set up to fail, giving the defendant a legitimate reason to terminate their employment.

“Sussman’s policies, practices, and customs have a disparate impact on older workers and on African-American workers,” the lawsuit reads. “Further, Sussman routinely ignores complaints of discriminatory conduct and fails to enforce anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and/or anti-retaliation policies.”

The complaint says that the car dealership was aware of the discrimination, harassment and retaliation suffered by Dalton, but that it failed to take any action to address the situation.

The defendant is accused of violating the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

As a result of the defendants conduct, the suit says, Dalton sustained a loss of earnings, severe emotional and psychological distress, loss of self-esteem, loss of future earning power, back pay, front pay and interest.

The plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment in addition to unspecified compensatory, punitive and liquidated damages, and attorney’s fees and costs.

Dalton is being represented by Philadelphia attorney James A. Bell, IV, of the firm Bell & Bell.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-04796-LS.

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