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He Won His Discrimination Suit, Then Tried to Cash the Check

'Detroit Free Press' reports on the odd case
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2020 12:47 PM CST
Updated Jan 26, 2020 10:15 AM CST
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / eccolo74)

(Newser) – A Detroit man sued his employer for racial discrimination—then ended up suing a bank for the same thing after it allegedly refused to accept his settlement check from the first case, the Detroit Free Press reports. In fact, Sauntore Thomas says TCF Bank called police and reported him for fraud when he brought the check there Tuesday. Thomas says the assistant manager he met with claimed the bank's computerized check verification system was down and she would have to call to verify the check, then returned to say the person who verifies them "was not around." But she had actually called police, and two officers ended up questioning Thomas while two others stood guard outside. He called his lawyer to explain the check was legitimate and was from a civil suit settlement; she even sent the bank the federal court complaint so they could see the amount matched.

But the bank would not budge, refusing to accept the check, though Thomas was not arrested. "The problem that the bank is having is that these check(s) appear different than (the company's) payroll checks so their computer system is telling them that they are fraud," a Livonia Police Department officer emailed Thomas the next day. However, Thomas says he went to a Chase bank the same day he was denied by TCF, deposited the check, and the funds cleared within 12 hours; he sued TCF, where he had been a customer for two years, Wednesday. "They discriminated against me because I'm black. None of this would have happened if I were white," he says. Adds his lawyer, "Obviously, assumptions were made the minute he walked in based on his race." Neither TCF nor the Livonia PD returned the Free Press' request for comment. See the full story here. (Read more racial discrimination stories.)

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