Courts settle with Honda, Rent-A-Car over huge discrimination suits

This July, two major automotive industry giants settled discrimination lawsuits in federal courts. In two separate cases, Honda and Enterprise Rent-A-Car of Los Angeles agreed to settle with minority victims who accused the corporations of violating federal anti-discrimination laws.

On July 12, Enterprise Rent-A-Car of Los Angeles agreed to settle for $425,000 over a complaint filed by former employees with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Job applicants accused the car rental company of illegally refusing to promote older employees at a local office. According to the lawsuit, between 2008 and 2011 Enterprise refused candidates over the age of 40 for management positions at the company’s Burbank office.

When the EEOC conducted an investigation into the company, the commission found that no one over the age of 40 was accepted into the management training program during that time. During that period, 10 candidates in particular were passed over for promotion in favor of younger, “less qualified” candidates, said the EEOC.

“Federal law requires that employers select the best qualified job candidates regardless of age,” said Rosa Viramontes, district director of the EEOC.

Although Enterprise claims those 10 candidates simply weren’t qualified for management positions, they agreed to settle for $425,000 to avoid more costly litigation. For comparison, product liability cases have the second-highest average settlement amount, at $300,000 on average; however, legal fees often cost far more.

Meanwhile, on July 13, Honda agreed to a massive settlement over discriminatory lending at its dealerships. The Department of Justice alleged that the company set higher loan interest rates for many black, Hispanic, and Asian car buyers when compared to white buyers. The DOJ claims minority customers paid the automaker $250 more than white customers on average.

Now, Honda will pay out $24 million to past victims of discriminatory lending, while also pledging to cap the interest rates Honda dealers can charge.