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Landmark Dodge in Independence is in the cross hairs of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit that claims the auto dealer hired only men to be salespeople and only women to be office workers — then retaliated against employees who opposed the practice.

The lawsuit also includes Landmark South Inc. as a defendant, which was sold in November 2019, after the alleged violations of federal law occurred. That dealership now operates as Max Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Belton.

According to the lawsuit filed Sept. 27 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, the alleged violations occurred from May 2017 to May 2019.

Landmark did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication and has not yet officially replied to the lawsuit.

Two employees sparked the lawsuit: former HR Director Janette Barron and former recruiter Jacqueline McKinney; Landmark hired both in September 2017. They were tasked with expanding recruiting efforts to bring in more qualified job applicants.

Barron and McKinney allege that owners Steve and Doug Fletcher told them Landmark doesn’t hire women for sales positions, that women and gay men are unable to handle sales positions, that women don’t make good salespeople because they don’t get the respect necessary to sell cars and that training women for sales positions is a waste of time because it’s not a clerical job. Barron and McKinney also claim they were told that Landmark doesn’t hire men to cashier, clerical and other office positions.