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Hanover County supervisor sues former employer

Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm

A Hanover County supervisor is suing his former employer for breach of contract. Hanover supervisor for the Henry district Sean Davis has filed a lawsuit against his former employer Don Hall and the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association. Davis is seeking $2.35 million for compensatory and punitive damages, for breach of contract and wrongful discharge among other allegations.

The lawsuit was filed Jan.19, about a month and a half after Hall terminated Davis from his Director of Dealers position at VADA.

VADA is a major trade association with an office located in Richmond.

According to claims made in the lawsuit, Davis was “aggressively recruited” to work for VADA. Davis accepted the position, and a lower salary than what he earned as a realtor.

The lawsuit claims that express representations by Hall led Davis to believe that this pay “gap” would be closed by the end of Davis’ three-year contract with VADA. Davis was also led to believe that he would “succeed Hall as President and CEO at or around three years,” according to the documentation.

Because of his belief that the pay “gap” would be closed by three years, Davis reportedly “dipped into his savings” during his employment with VADA. Davis was then terminated from his position before his contract was fulfilled, the lawsuit says. The documentation states that during his employment with VADA, Davis “met VADA’s legitimate performance expectations.”

The lawsuit reads that the work environment that Davis experienced while working under Hall was “hostile, predatory, misogynistic, sexist, immoral and unprofessional, and wholly unpredictable.”

The lawsuit details several instances in which Hall verbalized “his grossly improper, immoral and vile views upon Davis.” Hall reportedly made these comments to Davis in private.

According to the lawsuit, Davis reported Hall’s “discriminatory practices” to VADA’s in-house HR specialist before Nov. 30, 2016. The lawsuit states that Davis believes he was terminated Dec. 1, 2016 for his “complaints to HR and his unwillingness to support and promote Hall’s sexist agenda and grossly improper culture and attitude towards women at the VADA.”

Davis declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“I’ve never been sued in my entire life,” Hall said in an interview with the Herald-Progress. Though a business he worked for may have been sued, Hall said that this case was his first personal experience with being sued.

As for the claims that the VADA office work environment under Hall was “hostile, predatory, misogynistic, sexist, immoral and unprofessional and wholly unpredictable,” Hall said there was “no truth” in the allegations.

“Half my staff at VADA is female,” Hall said. “There’s never been any complaint registered with our outside counsel, or with our chairman or anyone else.”

“We do not have a ‘fraternity brothers’ culture here,” Hall said. “This is a professional operation that I have spent a lifetime in working.”

Hall said that he liked that Davis was a Marine and an elected official. The position was created for Davis, and has since been eliminated.

Hall said that he is unsure why Davis felt that he would replace him after three years with VADA.

“Anyone that knows me knows I am absolutely full of energy I am driven and focused and I plan on working a lot,” Hall said. “I am not considering retirement nor am I in a position to select my replacement.”

According to Hall, the VADA Board would ultimately decide who would take over his position when he does choose to leave.

Davis is also currently involved with another case which was filed last April against Richmond publication Style Weekly, Landmark Media Enterprises LLC, and Style Weekly writer Peter Galuszka for defamation. In both cases, Davis is represented by attorney Steven Biss.

VADA’s legal team is moving forward to defend the association and Hall.

“The legal team representing VADA will be filing a motion to dismiss in near future,” Hall said.