Philadelphia area company accused of racism by ex-employee

Jerome Staley alleges AAMCO used him as a shining example of its diversity program while paying him $40,000 a year less than his white counterparts.

The skyline in Philadelphia is pictured along the Schuylkill River

This photo shows the skyline in Philadelphia along the Schuylkill River, Thursday, May 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A Philadelphia man is suing national automotive repair chain AAMCO for discrimination.

Jerome Staley alleges AAMCO used him as nothing more than a figurehead for the company’s diversity efforts while he was being paid $40,000 a year less than his white counterparts.

“I invest years of my life in a company that valued me only as a Black poster child to promote its own inclusivity. But AAMCO’s inclusivity was a lie,” Staley said. ”I put my heart and soul into my job. And I was good, damn good. Don’t take my word for it. There are stats and metrics to back that up, but AAMCO refused to treat me fairly and pay me what my white colleagues made. When I voiced my concerns, I was dismissed.”

Staley alleges the discrimination didn’t stop when he was fired. He tried to become part of a franchise of the company, and corporate allegedly forced that franchisee to sell his store.

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His attorney Joe Peiffer said the company was just using Staley as a part of hollow statements of support for equality in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

“It’s time to stop the empty and false diversity marketing. AAMCO needs to take action and focus on equity and inclusion. AAMCO can’t sit around congratulating itself while it perpetuates racism. We won’t stand for it,” Peiffer said.

“I’m still in disbelief,” Staley said. “While I was working my tail off for AAMCO it was using me to make itself look diverse and refusing to pay me what my white colleagues made … This pattern of blatant racism has to stop.”

A statement from AAMCO said they take the allegations very seriously and while they cannot discuss the details of these claims due to the pending litigation, the claims are “without merit and we will vigorously defend against them.”

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