Former Harley Dealership Female Mechanic Alleges Sex Discrimination

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Tuesday announced it has charged San Francisco-based Dudley Perkins Co. Harley dealership with sex discrimination for not allowing a qualified woman to work as a mechanic. The EEOC alleges that although Bowen Dean was hired as a mechanic, the company had her work in customer service and bookkeeping. Dean was hired June 23, 2003 as an entry-level lot technician and was repeatedly passed over for mechanical jobs by men with less experience. In February 2006, Dean filed a sex discrimination charge with the EEOC, which said that as a result she was fired two months later. My only comment is that I always wanted to have at least one female mechanic working for me. But never found one to hire. And right now I am not recruiting…

22 Responses to “Former Harley Dealership Female Mechanic Alleges Sex Discrimination”

  1. 1 Rogue Oct 2nd, 2008 at 8:04 am

    I have had the privilage of working with some really good female mechanics.
    If she was qualified she should get the job.

  2. 2 J Oct 2nd, 2008 at 8:31 am

    Easiest slap-suit in the biz these days- suprised it hasn’t happened until now.

    Which state did this occur? Shocker…..

  3. 3 Cyril Huze Oct 2nd, 2008 at 8:40 am

    San Francisco, CA.

  4. 4 Kephas Oct 2nd, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Hiring anyone can end up a mess these days. Employers violate without knowing they violate. Especially in California. The land of life regulation. Documentation and covering your ass is the best defense when it comes to hiring an attitude. If you can do the job yourself, do it yourself.

  5. 5 Fausto Simoes Oct 2nd, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I have hired women tig welders in the past and I have always been pleased with the quality of their work and their professional attitude.

    If she really wanted to work as a technician then she should look for an employer that will give her an opportunity to work in her chosen profession instead of suing her present employer. I would imagine that other potential employers will now think twice before hiring this person.

  6. 6 Rodent Oct 2nd, 2008 at 11:55 am

    I would never ever hire a women for a job she wasn’t qualified to do.

  7. 7 aft customs Oct 2nd, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    As an employer you use the people you have where you think they are best for YOUR business.She was not a slave & could of quit .Just because she may have passed some tests in a school doesn’t mean that that knowledge in her brain makes it’s way to her hands.I’ve seen a lot of smart people that do very sloppy work.I’ve been a tech for 31 years & a business owner for 21 years.We have a modeling agency & the girls help build the customs so I know a little about female employees.

  8. 8 Rodent Oct 2nd, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    I had a speedometer go bad on one of my bikes years ago and every “mechanic” advisd me to buy a new one or used from a junk yard…But my stupid, dumb girlfriend said to me “give me a pair of needlenose pliers and get out of my face for a couple hours”…. When I got back she said put the speedo back on the bike and lets go for a ride…The dumb stupid broad fixed what the “mechanics couldn’t.
    The speedo outlasted her. Shit happens

  9. 9 GAMBLER Oct 3rd, 2008 at 1:58 am

    can I sue my employer for assigning me a task/position that I would rather not do? I mean I’m qualified to lick stamps but the jerk told me to staple them instead. Good to know I can do what the fuck I want at work or get rich suing the sob.

  10. 10 Conrad Nicklus Oct 3rd, 2008 at 4:24 am

    Shame on her for not speaking up and saying “hey I want to have that job in the back. I dont like being passed up and think I deserve that position.”….This lady saw the perfect oppurtunity and she seized the moment by heading to one of Californias MILLION lawyers and said a sob story for the masses to approve. This is an easy win for her but still a bullshit lawsuit. If she was so pissed off about this she should have spoken up.

    I think that the equal thing is bullshit anyways. If they are equal in the workplace why do I have to provide a womens and mens restroom for employees? Why can I not just have one rest room and one break room?

  11. 11 Mike Greenwald Oct 3rd, 2008 at 4:32 am

    Cuz they can’t put the seat down?

  12. 12 Mick Chadwick- Custom Oct 3rd, 2008 at 8:08 am

    If you go to Florida I believe Bruce Rossmeyers have a top lady technician ( so I was told ) very well respected and good at job- we employ ladies on phone and they pick up models and parts far quicker than most guys who think they know it all – problem is they know a lot about their own bike ! But often dont pick up on newer models or other brands than their own- My misses has been in game 15 years up to now and can knock the spots off any male employee weve ever had- except me of course- I taught her- but phone in guys dont believe it- is problem – do other shops find this?Mike

  13. 13 Wyked Illuzionz, LED Lights for Motorcycles Oct 5th, 2008 at 10:04 am

    What ever happenned to the days when the most qualified PERSON got the job and the less qualified PERSON walked away to try again another day?

  14. 14 Bobfather Oct 6th, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    I’ve worked with and had females on my staff. My experience is they’re better with the attention to detail and they tend to be more thorough on all jobs. If she was qualified for the promotions and showed good knowledge she should have gotten the promotions no matter what her gender is. My current painter is a female and she’s the most talented painter I’ve seen in all my years in this biz. To me it’s not about the gender but about the talent of the person. I guess some people aren’t that smart though.

  15. 15 Vagabond Chickie Oct 7th, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Okay – I do not usually spend any time on this darned computer but I do read this blog weekly to stay updated- Thanks Cyril…

    I feel for this chick but personally think the situation sucks… Does she ride? What does she do if a 250 pound man tells her he is taking her bike and begins to straddle it? There are two choices- Shoot or Let him ride away… To me suing is like letting someone ride away on your motorcycle, how do you look yourself in the mirror and know that you did not give it your best shot… I have been working on and building bikes for 24 years and let me say that I am sure that I could have sued someone- but what does that say to yourself- screw what everyone else thinks… I made my way in this world and the industry and it has always been more than a struggle- I have had my own shop for six years and now it is just a struggle everyday- My 24 years of time in the industry has earned me great respect as a builder from my colleagues and for me that is what counts- I never ran and cried – oh i am not being treated fairly, I just got pissed off enough to stand up and say – I will do it here or somewhere else- Oddly enough I was always told somewhere else is fine- Sure I worked in the parts department and the apparel department- DURING THE DAY! And I went home every night and applied what I learned by reading and questioning the techs in the shop to my own stuff. That was no joy all the time either ( some techs do messed up stuff ) I never let it give me a bad attitude, through the history of motorcycles most were predominantly owned and operated by men- the history shows that the women who were tough enough to let it roll and kept showing what they were made of earned the respect of others- Look at the Motor Maids ( I am a member since 2006 ) Why because they already had respect for themselves, that is apparent by conduct regardless of gender. When I started in the early eighties boys were cruel and pissed in my helmet or sabotaged my bikes. I never let that stop me from doing what I wanted and doing it well, always keeping a good attitude.

    I am working on a book right now ( in the evenings, after I close the shop ) – this chick should read it when it comes out- If she had to go through the shit that myself and other women who are passionate about their love of motorcycles went through years before her she would realize that it is better and easier to walk away and move on than sue a company over something like this- If she thinks she will get rich from this she is sadly mistaken- rich is not measured by $$$ if you are a biker – it is when you have the respect of the people in your life or industry and your self respect. AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

    Okay lunch is over and I have to get back to work- Why do I own my own shop? So I have a place to work on and build motorcycles and do what I love- and that is not selling parts or apparel, but hey I do that too! Again, Why? Oh yeah because I could not get a job in a shop as a tech or builder even though I am good at what I do…. My boobs and round butt distracted the boys in the shop, go figure- Things haven’t changed and I am glad I haven’t either.

  16. 16 Crawdad Oct 17th, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Just came across forgive the late posting. I worked for Tom in the mid-90’s and you could not ask for a more fair and honest employer. Dudley’s has given opportunities to a variety of people over the years, and it made it a diverse and interesting place to work. I remember working with diferent nationalities, and even the disabled. For most shops this would be too risky. Sometimes things just don’t work out. But the opportunities were there for people that had talent. You had to start at the bottom and work your way up. Dudley’s has a high standard to work towards, and a lot of experience to gain from them.Your peers had decades of tenure in the industry, so a new hire really is on a trial basis there. This isn’t a shop that just opened up when Harleys got popular ya know….But, isn’t this the way it should be? Oportunities=rewards based on merit-retaining the best staff possible. Who in this industry hasn’t been moved around based on where you strengths and weaknesses are? I’ve gone full circle at least once.Anyway, if this girl was transfered she should have been grateful to learn another avenue of the industry. The way this bussiness is, decisions have to be made as to where to put talent and sometimes your just not needed where you think you should be. My best wishes to the Perkins family, just one of the many setbacks you encounter as a bussiness owner. I wonder who would want to give this girl a chance now that it is known how she handles the reality of being in this industry?

  17. 17 Ares Vista May 18th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    It’s unbelievable that we still these sorts of problems in the workforce. Crawdad’s post is evidence of the insensitivity that employers and co-workers can exhibit in these situations. Just because it is the way it is, doesn’t make it right.

  18. 18 Mona Feb 6th, 2010 at 1:16 am

    I wasn’t there when all this occured between Perkins and Dean, so I don’t care to comment. I am writing because I first started thinking about becoming a tech in 2001, however due to circumstances beyond my control prevented me from following my dream. Now that my health has returned and lifes seems much more optomistic I have started the re-application process. Reading this articles kind of freaks me out.. Even with grant & scholorship monies I will be paying in excess of $20,000.00 to got to school to learn the art and science of motorcycles. If I wanted to work in the clothing department or parts department I do not think the cost to go to school evens out. Call me crazy, but I could apply to Macy’s for a retail job. That is not what I want to do. I’m just a basic gray looking to do what it is I love to do and get paid a fare rate. I don’t have a problem starting off scrapping heads or “here, hold this wrench while I show you how we do this or that.” I have a great respect for those who have hoaned their craft. It would be an honor for me to work along side those that share my passion and gracious enough to look beyond my big tits. Besides who the hell can see them in coveralls anyway….lol.

  19. 19 dustin Feb 28th, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I am a female who loves bikes, small mechanics, I am headed to school finally next year to MMI. Like anything else, respect yourself, be honest, learn as much as possible all the time, ignore others who don’t earn your respect, do what you love, love what you do.

    As for the woman who sued, I would have walked a long time ago… but I don’t know what truly happened. I think she would have been better off getting another job. It’s like knowing you had a crazy friend who only wants to get you in more trouble by slicing your tire and when you go after them legally, you are still stuck with them for life because now you have history together. Move on, get over it, grow up and get real… so what if some place doesn’t like you, why stick around to convince them to make them like you! Take a hint and move on to a better place that suites you!

    And for guys here that still keep putting women down, you’re just afraid Momma hater. You obviously was taken away from the tit too soon! LOL! WAH! Respect your survival needs and believe no matter what gender, we all have to get along.

    I respect guys who don’t make a big deal if a woman has talent. They think it’s cool! Now that’s pretty cool of a dude!

  20. 20 bettybadge Mar 10th, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Hey Dustin… GO for it …
    I am female and a grandmother of 2 with another grandchild on the way……..
    I love bikes and ride my own. I have always tinkered here and there with cars or bikes..
    I went for it and attended MMI and graduated in 2009. Just goes to show you, You are NEVER too old to follow your dreams!

    As long as what ever makes YOU happy is all that matters… Screw all the others who don’t, won’t and never will understand. You can do what ever YOU put your mind too… Nobody else is going to do it for you. RIde safe, study hard, and enjoy life to the fullest. We are not on this earth forever!

    Good Luck with all that you do

  21. 21 hdchuck Jun 8th, 2010 at 8:40 am

    my wife was in the same situation at A.D. Farrow, and filed suit, she settled out of court, and the dealer has tried to black ball her from working….didn’t do much good ..she’s working and is one of the best mechanics around

  22. 22 Shay Dec 10th, 2011 at 9:42 am

    “The EEOC alleges that although Bowen Dean was hired as a mechanic, the company had her work in customer service and bookkeeping. Dean was hired June 23, 2003 as an entry-level lot technician and was repeatedly passed over for mechanical jobs by men with less experience.”

    I’m a woman and some of these comments are stupid. If you hire me as a mechanic, you work me as a mechanic. Period. If I’m not good enough to be a mechanic, you fire me. You don’t assign me to customer service and bookkeeping. Obviously the company needed to hire administrative help. Working 3 years in customer service instead of what she was hired to do gives her a right to sue. If they didn’t like her work, they should have fired her just like every other freaking employer would have done.

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Cyril Huze