Ex-technical inspector files complaint, claiming discrimination
DOVER, Del. -- A former technical inspector filed a complaint against NASCAR with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging racial discrimination, a hostile work environment and wrongful termination.
Dean Duckett, who is black, said discrimination started in May 2001 and lasted until NASCAR fired him from his job in the Cup series on Nov. 14, 2007.
Duckett told The Associated Press on Saturday that he would consider a lawsuit if NASCAR refused to offer him his old job back.
"I'm looking for something. Even if NASCAR was to offer me my job back, I would do that," he said. "If they wasn't going to offer me my job back, I'm shooting for a lawsuit."
Duckett said his problems started last Nov. 10 when he got into a heated argument with another official the night before the Phoenix race.
"I said to him, 'I ought to cut you.' I don't carry no blades or nothing like that," Duckett said. "It basically came out in the heat of the moment. We got into each others faces but nothing happened. My roommate pulled me away and said, 'C'mon guys leave it alone,' and we left."
Duckett said he apologized, made up with the official and thought the incident was squashed. Instead, he said he was called the next day to NASCAR's at-track office and was sent home. Duckett said he was fired by Cup Series director John Darby and human resources director Star George.
"They took my life away," he said. "I loved my job. I put everything into my job. I feel they took away from my family."
The discrimination complaint was first reported Saturday by The Charlotte Observer. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said on Saturday that stock car series was aware of the complaint.
Duckett was named in Mauricia Grant's $250 million lawsuit against NASCAR, alleging racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Her lawsuit claimed Duckett was reprimanded and ultimately fired last November for using "aggressive language toward a white co-worker."
Duckett denied harassing Grant, though he acknowledged NASCAR suspended him with pay for two weeks. Duckett was accused by Grant of dumping water on another female official to simulate a wet T-shirt contest.
"She lied about that part," Duckett said. "NASCAR suspended me for that and I still don't even know why they did that."
Duckett, who said he now works two jobs and is falling behind in bills, said Grant was mostly telling the truth.
"I believe some of the stuff that was said," he said. "It's kind of funny that the stuff she said, I said already."
Duckett's complaint was filed Sept. 4 with the Buffalo department of the EEOC. He wrote in the complaint: "During my employment, I was subjected to different terms and conditions of employment and a hostile work environment, because of my race and marital status, and was ultimately terminated in violation of Title VII and corresponding state laws."
Duckett said he has more to say about the way he was treated and even kept a diary while he was employed in NASCAR.
"I've got stuff," he said. "It's not even funny."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press