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John Elway, partners in Manhattan Beach dealership face bias suit

January 09, 2012|By Ricardo Lopez
  • John Elway, right, shown with tackle Orlando Franklin after the Denver Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, faces a discrimination lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
John Elway, right, shown with tackle Orlando Franklin after the Denver… (Associated Press )

A former sales manager at John Elway’s Manhattan Beach Toyota dealership filed a lawsuit accusing the outlet’s general manager of racial discrimination, harassment and maintaining a hostile work environment for minorities.

The suit, which also names the famed former Denver Broncos quarterback and two partners, also alleged that Timothy Sandquist, an 11-year employee at Elway’s dealership, was paid less than his white peers and was repeatedly passed over for promotions and raises, according to the lawsuit.

A lawyer for the dealership, James McDonald, denied the lawsuit’s allegations and said the complaint contains many factual errors. He declined to comment further.

According to the complaint, the dealership’s general manager, Darrell Sperber, created a hostile work environment for minority employees through his “rampant harassment and use of racial slurs.”

The lawsuit also alleged that Sperber, hired as general manager in 2007, retaliated against employees who reported discrimination or harassment.

Janette Wipper, an attorney for Sandquist, said co-owners Elway, Mitchell Pierce and Jerry Williams were notified of these complaints after an outside company conducted a general employee survey.

Sandquist, an African American who started as a sales representative in 2000, became a sales manager in 2008. He resigned last year and subsequently filed a complaint with the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

The lawsuits seeks unspecified damages that include back pay and punitive damages.

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