Car salesman says he was fired via text after complaining about wage theft, discrimination

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KIRKLAND — A former car salesman says his employer shortchanged his commission and used racial slurs in the workplace. Now a class-action lawsuit is looming and it could affect dozens of others if the plaintiff wins.

The lawsuit is against O’Brien Auto Group, an auto empire, which has dealerships all over Western Washington, including Tacoma, Kirkland and Seattle.

It was business as usual outside Toyota of Kirkland on Tuesday despite a giant lawsuit claiming wage theft and discrimination.

“I told them to stop it, but they didn’t,” plaintiff Ruhul Kayshel said.

Kayshel, a former salesmen, says the dealership stole up to 30% of his commissions on every car sale.

“There are hundreds of employees being cheated hundreds of dollar per car sale,” attorney Stephen Teller said.

Kayshel says the wage theft is also happening to his co-workers and has now filed a class-action lawsuit against Toyota of Kirkland and its owner, Michael O’Brien.

O’Brien is a former Seahawks player who owns a number of car dealerships across Western Washington.

Kayshel has also filed a separate lawsuit claiming racial discrimination; he alleges a manager routinely used racial slurs.

When he complained to upper management Kayshel claims he got no response.

Instead he received a text message terminating his employment.

“I was so upset and depressed,” Kayshel said.

“It’s pretty blatant retaliation,” Teller said.

No one inside the dealership could talk about the lawsuit. Q13 Fox News also reached out to O’Brien but his attorney said they also had no comment since they saw the lawsuit for the first time Tuesday.

“If I don’t take the initiative this is going to keep on going,” Kayshel said.

Kayshel is the only representative of the class-action lawsuit as of Tuesday.

He is not disclosing exactly how much he is seeking in damages.

The O’Brien Auto Group has 20 days to respond to the suit.

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