A Detroit man is dealing with back-to-back racial discrimination lawsuits after two unfortunate incidents with his employer and bank.
Sauntore Thomas recently sued his employer for racial discrimination, and the case was eventually settled out of court. But when he took his settlement checks to the Livonia branch of TCF Bank, the bank refused to cash or deposit his checks and even called the cops, sparking a fraud investigation.
Thomas and his lawyer promptly filed another lawsuit.
"I didn't deserve treatment like that when I knew that the check was not fraudulent," the 44-year-old told the Detroit Free Press. "I'm a United States veteran. I have an honorable discharge from the Air Force. They discriminated against me because I'm black. None of this would have happened if I were white."
While he was at the bank, Thomas called his lawyer, who tried to explain the situation. However, the bank wouldn't listen to her, either. "I got on the phone with the bank. I sent them my federal court complaint, to see that it matched. I did everything," employment law attorney Deborah Gordon told the Free Press. Gordon believes that "assumptions were made" based on the color of Thomas' skin.
"Obviously, assumptions were made the minute he walked in based on his race. It's unbelievable that this guy got done with a race discrimination case and he’s not allowed to deposit the checks based on his case? It's absolutely outrageous," said Gordon, stressing all of this could have been avoided.
A TCF Bank spokesperson denies that any form of racial discrimination occurred, saying that Thomas made "highly, highly unusual" requests when he was attempting to deposit his three checks from his former employer, Enterprise Leasing Company of Detroit. The checks were for $59,000, $27,000 and $13,000.
"TCF Bank is a diverse business serving a diverse community and we abhor racism in all forms. Mr. Thomas’ transaction was handled like any other transactions involving requests for large amounts of cash," the bank said in a statement. "We regret any inconvenience to Mr. Thomas."