Wieland accused of discriminating against sales agents

Fri, 05/01/2009 - 4:15pm
By: The Citizen

John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, Inc., an Atlanta-based home builder that has numerous subdivisions in Fayette County, is being accused of unlawfully engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against black sales agents in a lawsuit filed today by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

According to the EEOC’s suit, Wieland intentionally assigned African American sales agents to housing communities based on the race of the surrounding community. The lawsuit charges that these practices resulted in black agents earning significantly less than their white counterparts, who were assigned to housing communities where they sold higher-priced homes.

The EEOC began investigating the employer when a white human resources representative filed a discrimination charge with the agency stating that she was forced to participate in the discriminatory practice or face termination. Michelle Mouser served as a Wieland human resource representative in Atlanta and was responsible for recruiting sales agents to work onsite at new housing communities that were under construction.

The company’s management responsible for such hiring expressly stated that the goal was to hire and assign employees whose race corresponded with the predominant population of each community, according to the EEOC. Therefore Mouser was told that she could not hire qualified African American sales agents for communities with predominantly Caucasian populations, the EEOC said.

When Mouser complained about the company’s discriminatory practices to management officials, no action was taken, the EEOC alleged.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, EEOC officials said. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, Inc. develops land and builds cluster homes, town homes, and upscale single-family homes in the metropolitan areas of Atlanta, Ga., Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C., Louisville, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn. Wieland also provides remodeling and landscaping services and offers mortgage lending to its customers.

The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for Mouser, who felt she was forced to resign because she wouldn’t comply with the hiring scheme ordered by management. The agency is also seeking back pay, compensatory and punitive damages for the affected African-American sales agents for the period beginning in 2003. The lawsuit also seeks injunctive relief designed to stop the discrimination and prevent it from recurring in the future.

“Race discrimination is still an insidious but prevalent form of discrimination,” said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “All employees are entitled to a workplace free of racial discrimination. More importantly, all individuals, regardless of their race, have the right to the same employment opportunities. No one should be pigeon-holed into particular job assignments based solely on race. This lawsuit demonstrates that the EEOC takes such forms of discrimination seriously.”

In fiscal year 2008, the EEOC received 33,937 charges alleging race-based discrimination, accounting for 36 percent of the agency's private-sector caseload. Historically, race-based charges have been the most frequent type of filing with EEOC offices nationwide.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.

login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Submitted by pinksunkiss48 on Mon, 05/04/2009 - 10:13am.

the last couple of places I worked blacks could do anything they wanted. Come or leave as they pleased. The government is full of them. Every company has to hire a quoto. We just have well fair, it has just taken on another name. Entitlement

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Mon, 05/04/2009 - 7:05am.

amazing isn't it.. Even while providing preferential treatment it is still not enough.. The ENTITLEMENT crowd throws it's hand out yet again..

I will not lower my standards.. So UP YOURS.. Evil


mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Mon, 05/04/2009 - 6:17am.

So, if I understand this properly, Wieland matches up his sales agents demographically to the customers or the surrounding area. Which means he hires black agents to serve black customers buying houses he has built in a black neighborhood all of which creates jobs and housing opportunities for blacks. And he gets sued for that? Are you kidding me?

Minny Mouser is making a money grab here using the power of the fed's foolishness and Bernice with the hyphenated last name is espousing a double standard. I hope she gets to testify in open court and answer real life common sense questions - one of which will be"Do you feel more comfortable buying a home from someone you consider your peer?"

Doesn't government have anything better to do?

SPQR's picture
Submitted by SPQR on Sun, 05/03/2009 - 11:24am.

It's nice to see that after so much time resolving blatant cases of bigoted discrimination government agencies have been reduced to addressing the grayer areas. You read this kind of stuff and wonder if anyone was actually harmed or if we're just seeing job justification by government agencies. Is matching staff with the surrounding demographics actual discrimination? Actually as long as we have an EEOC we will have discrimination not the other way around.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.