SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Tuesday filed a racial discrimination suit against Fremont Toyota.

The suit claims a former general manager verbally harassed Afghan salesmen and called them terrorists.

The case dates back to 2007.

EEOC Attorney Raymond Cheung said four Afghan salesmen complained to the Commission about then-manager Tom Cogliano, who they said intimidated them during a sales meeting.

“Their general manager threatened them, basically in front of co-workers, calling them terrorists, questioning why they’re in America,” said Cheung.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor:

Cheung said the workers eventually quit and had trouble finding new work.  Three ended up back in Afghanistan.

“They weren’t able to find replacement jobs in the United States, so some of them joined up with the U.S. military and worked for contractors working for the military as translators in Afghanistan,” said Cheung.

The lawsuit states another Afghan-American manager was fired when he complained and tried to stop the alleged harassment at the dealership.

The suit filed in federal court seeks back pay for the workers and a number of measures to prevent future discrimination at the Fremont Toyota dealership.

The dealership has not returned calls seeking comment.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  1. Bob J. says:

    Hah…the general manager is now the GM at Cammissa Hyundai in Burlingame and San Francisco Hyundai.

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