- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

MULTNOMAH COUNTY, Ore. (AP) - Three former employees at Les Schwab are seeking an additional $15 million in punitive damages in a lawsuit claiming the tire chain pushed unneeded tires, wipers and other vehicle supplies on customers.

Two people in the suit say a manager at the Clackamas Les Schwab demanded they up-sell every customer or tell them they needed services such as windshield wipers, brakes or shocks, even if they didn’t, The Oregonian reported (https://goo.gl/WnuiFd).

Vincent Finzer, Tracie Lee Udey and Synthea Russell filed an amended suit filed last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court. Documents say they worked at the Clackamas store between 2010 and 2015. All three claim they were yelled at, threatened or grabbed by a manager.

“Plaintiff Finzer told (the manager) that he would not sell unneeded products to customers because it was unethical to do so,” the suit says. “When Plaintiff Finzer refused to do so, (the manager) shouted at him and made unlawful physical contact, grabbing Plaintiff Finzer’s arm.”

A spokesman for Les Schwab, which is headquartered in Bend, declined comment to The Oregonian, citing the pending litigation.

The lawsuit originally was filed in June 2015, seeking $750,000 for past and future pay and benefits and other compensatory damages for Finzer, Udey and Russell. In a court filing, Les Schwab denied the allegations.

The three ex-workers say they were fired or forced out of their jobs even though they complained through a confidential company procedure that promised no retaliation.

Although the lawsuit seeks $15 million in punitive damages for the plaintiffs, the state would collect 70 percent of any punitive damages awarded in the case, according to Oregon law.

The suit is scheduled for trial in late September.

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Information from: The Oregonian, https://www.oregonlive.com

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