PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – An Atlantic City car dealership says they are retraining their employees after a woman claims she received an offensive email last week.
Tara Brandt, a teacher at the Atlantic City High School, says she was in the market to purchase a new car and decided to fill out a form online with Nissan Atlantic City.
“They called a couple times and I was in the middle of class and I didn’t get back right away,” says Brandt. “They continued to call and text me, but I ended up getting a much better deal at Auto Lenders.”
But the local car dealership pressed on.
Brandt says she received an email from an employee at the dealership saying, “I know vehicle shopping can be daunting, especially at times for women.”
“I was completely shocked,” said Brandt, which led to her replying to the salesman.
“I simply stated that I found that to be a little offensive because there are a lot of men and women that can purchase vehicles just fine. I then went on to say that I appreciate him giving me an example to use for my business class of what not to do.”
Brandt says the employee responded, saying that he felt he was not offensive and that no one would agree with her.
“He wrote in another email later, asking where I posted it. I responded simply saying at this point, ‘It was really none of his business.’”
According to Brandt, at least four to five emails followed, including one that was, again, insulting towards women.
“I also want to note that here at Nissan of Atlantic City, we will sell you a vehicle whether you are a strong, independent woman or a weak, dependent woman. We do not discriminate. We are here to sell vehicles to everyone who needs one. I don’t want you walking away from this thinking we wouldn’t sell you a vehicle because you’re a woman. I’m a feminist myself and I’d love to earn your business. You can reach me anytime to discuss your options, in the future. Again, sorry if you were offended.”
Brandt says after the final email she was shocked.
“I almost died laughing. I was also extremely shocked and appalled that a local business would conduct themselves in this way!” she said.
Kristina Adamski, vice president of corporate communications, for Nissan tells CBS Philly that the statements “in no way reflect the values of Nissan or our dealership.”
“It gives me great dismay to read this email. Whereas I can agree that this communication sounds sexist, this employee simply lacked proper etiquette & social skills,” said Denise Patella, the CFO for Nissan Atlantic City, following a request for a statement.
“Our salesman took it upon himself to, what he felt, was to make her comfortable, to reassure her that she will not be taken advantage of. His poor attempt in gaining her trust discredited his sensitivity towards all genders, financial classes and family statuses. His poor communication is NOT our Standards of Practice,” Patella added.
The company says they have a strict hiring process and strict HR guidelines, including harassment, non-harassment and sensitivity training.
That training will now be reevaluated following this incident.
“I will immediately re-visit this area and enforce much more direct training,” Patella says. “Our employee has been informed of this situation & the severity of his actions. He was very remorseful and apologetic. We are now taking all actions in the form of additional training to educate ALL of our employees with the proper etiquette in speaking to customers, vendors and even their peers.”