AP, December 18, 2008
NASCAR has settled a $225 million lawsuit filed by a former official who said she was subjected to racial discrimination and sexual harassment during her two-plus years working for the stock-car organization.
The suit was settled during a Dec. 3 mediation held in New York between Mauricia Grant and NASCAR. Settlement terms were confidential. Neither side admitted liability or wrongdoing, according to NASCAR.
Grant, who is black, worked as a technical inspector responsible for certifying cars in NASCAR’s second-tier Nationwide Series from January 2005 until her October 2007 termination. In the lawsuit filed in June in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Grant alleged 23 specific incidents of alleged sexual harassment and 34 specific incidents of alleged racial and gender discrimination during her employment.
Among Grant’s claims, she said she was referred to as “Nappy Headed Mo” and “Queen Sheba,” by co-workers, was often told she worked on “colored people time,” and was frightened by one official who routinely made Ku Klux Klan references.
Grant also said she was subjected to sexual advances from male co-workers, two of whom allegedly exposed themselves to her, and graphic and lewd jokes.
Grant claimed she ultimately was fired for that complaint to Balash [series director Joe Balash]. But in NASCAR’s response, it claims Grant was reprimanded with a warning of termination for an altercation with a track security guard at Michigan International Speedway who had asked to see Grant’s credentials as she passed through a gate.
NASCAR officials have refused to disclose why Grant was fired. But the response claimed a pattern of tardiness for which she was routinely reprimanded.