France disappointed with lawsuit claims
|By Diego Mejia
||Saturday, June 14th 2008, 22:23 GMT
NASCAR CEO Brian France has said his is disappointed with the racial and sexual discrimination claims made by former black female official Mauricia Grant, who has sued NASCAR for US $225 million.
Grant worked as a Nationwide Series official between 2005 and 2007 inspecting cars during race weekends, but was fired in October last year. She filed a lawsuit this week for alleged racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination.
"The most disappointing thing to me is that we found out about these alleged claims after you did in the media via a national lawsuit that seeks a lot of money," France told reporters at Michigan International Speedway.
"That's very disappointing, because if any of those claims turn out to be accurate and have substance, we would have liked to have known about that two years ago so that we could have reacted and done something about it, because it's inconsistent with anything, from a policy standpoint, about how a work environment for our officials should be."
On Friday, two Nationwide Series officials who are linked to the claims made by Grant in her lawsuit were placed on administrative leave. However, France asked to not jump to conclusion about why they were sent home from Kentucky Speedway.
"Obviously we found some violations of our policy," France said. "I would not jump to conclusions to assume that all the allegations that were made over the many months that the plaintiff has made against us are accurate.
"I would be very, very cautious in making a leap of faith, even if we take action on any official in this investigation. We might discover something entirely different that may have been going on and had nothing to do with the claim of this lawsuit but still was a violation of our policy and that would get you in trouble with us."
France said NASCAR is currently investigating Grant's claims internally but said she never reported any incidents while still serving as official. He asked to wait for their investigation to unfold and not jump to conclusions on what he believes to be allegations completely inconsistent with the reality of the sport.
"I can tell you not to jump to conclusions about what a lawsuit attempts to say in an attempt to create some monetary reward for themselves," he said. "We've been down this road before and usually the facts are something different in a lawsuit and we have to just left the facts come out as they will."
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