NASCAR has been sued for race discrimination, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment. The plaintiff, a black female former official, seeks $225 million in damages.
The plaintiff, Mauricia Grant, worked as a technical inspector in NASCAR’s second-tier Nationwide Series until she was fired in October 2007. She’d been with the organization since 2005, when she alleges the harassment and discrimination began.
Her complaint, filed in federal court in New York, lists 23 specific instances of alleged sexual harassment and 34 specific instances of alleged gender and racial discrimination.
Despite an increasingly female fan base, NASCAR has long been a “man’s sport” with women’s involvement traditionally limited.
Grant claims that she was harassed based on her race and her gender, as well as subject to a sexually hostile work environment. In support of her racial discrimination claim, she alleges that she was referred to as “Nappy Headed Mo” and “Queen Sheba” and was told that she worked on “colored people time.
One official, Grant alleges, routinely made references to the KKK. And, while riding with coworkers at Talladega Speedway, she was told to duck as they passed by race fans because, one said, “I don’t want to start a riot when these fans see a black woman in my car.”
As for the sexual harassment, she says that she was accused of being gay when she ignored advances of co-workers. She also claims that those same co-workers exposed themselves to her and made graphic and lewd jokes.
Grant also alleges that she routinely complained about the conduct to multiple supervisors, who responded that she should just “deal with it,” and dismissed the conduct as attributable to “former military guys” with a rough sense of humor.