A former employee of Keyes European Mercedes-Benz in Van Nuys, California, has filed a lawsuit against the dealership giant alleging sexual harassment, discrimination, and failure to pay wages.
According to the complaint, Walied Karaki came to expect that each day he reported to work as a Sales Consultant for the car mogul would be a day when his sexuality and gender expression would be questioned and ridiculed, and his body would be scrutinized, commented upon, and touched inappropriately by the dealership’s General Manager. Karaki alleges his supervisor used homophobic slurs as his workplace nicknames, publicly questioned his heterosexual preferences, and regularly slapped him in the genitals without warning. When he objected to the torment, Karaki claims he was mocked, singled out for non-payment of bonuses, sent to wash cars, ordered to buy coffee for his co-workers, and told he would be fired if he ever “snitched to corporate.”
According to Karaki’s attorney, Raymond P. Boucher of Boucher LLP, “Power and sexual advances are too often used as weapons of harassment and discrimination, even if not motivated by sexual desire. No one should have to endure sexual abuse, physical assault, or attacks on their sexual identity in exchange for the privilege of being allowed to make a living.”
The case is Karaki v. Keyes European, LLC, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 18STCV00262. A copy of the complaint is available here.