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  1. adbutcher

    adbutcher K9NME

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    Suit Filed Against Wieland Homes

    Reported By: Jaye Watson
    Web Editor: Manav Tanneeru
    Last Modified: 8/19/2004 9:19:14 PM

    John Wieland Homes, the premier home builder in the Southeast, is the focus of a racial discrimination lawsuit, 11Alive News learned Thursday.

    Amanda Eskridge said she applied for a job as a real estate agent, but was not hired because she is Black. Her lawyers said they have the tapes to prove their claim.

    “They sent me through a battery of tests and I scored high on those tests and I was told I would advance to the next level,” Eskridge said.

    Eskridge said she had five interviews and worked her way up the executive ladder. She was, however, never offered a job.

    “It was unbelievable to me,” she said. Eskridge did not understand why the job was not offered but said she accepted it.

    But then she heard from a local law firm and learned from a source that she may have been discriminated against. The evidence for the allegations were recorded conversations with top Wieland executives.

    Eskridge heard the tapes and then filed the lawsuit.

    “I heard that they liked me but I did not fit the profile. When asked what was the profile, I heard them say non-African-American,” she said.

    In a series of recorded conversations, Eskridge said she heard Wieland executives infer that it was the home buyers who were racist.

    “He said, ‘I don't have a problem with it, but some of our buyers do, as well as our vendors and we want them to be comfortable,’” Eskridge said.

    A spokesman for John Wieland Homes said Wieland was saddened by the news and categorically denies that the company he has built would ever condone the type of conduct alleged in the complaint.

    Wieland’s attorney Larry Stine said that at the time Eskridge applied for the job, there were only four opening for sales agents in the company. A Black female was hired for one of the jobs. The other three were canceled and never filled.

    Eskridge’s attorney Craig Jones said the content of the tapes was indisputable. “There's no telling how many times a day these kind of conversations go on in companies all around America -- it just so happens there was a recorder rolling during this one,” he said.

    Eskridge is asking for punitive and compensatory damages, but has not put a number on how much she is seeking.

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