NYRA is deeply invested in addressing real-life instances of discrimination. For more than a year, NYRA staff has been involved in pursuing a discrimination complaint against Crazy Ray’s Autoparts, a small chain of autosalvage yards located in Maryland. The complaint stems from a policy that prohibits the entry of persons under 18 into the yards. That policy is both at odds with NYRA’s stance against business discrimination based on age and with age discrimination laws in the state of Maryland. Though our complaint was submitted in early February of 2009 to the Maryland Commission on Human Relations (MCHR), the numerous difficulties and obstacles that executive director Alex Koroknay-Palicz and direct of development and operations David Moss have encountered while merely attempting to follow up on the matter are evidence of the lack of seriousness and respect that “anti-discrimination” groups have for age-related complaints, this exclusion itself being a form of discrimination.

To quickly summarize the chain of events that’s occurred, after initial contact with Crazy Ray’s staff in October of 2008 in which they were informed of the legal violation that the prohibition constituted, our executive director again contacted them in January of 2009 to press the issue more, since they had not abandoned the policy and did not seem concerned that they were and are breaking the law. A week after warning Crazy Ray’s employees that he would take the complaint to the state if the policy were not dropped, Koroknay-Palicz submitted a report to the aforementioned MCHR on February 5, 2009. In March, NYRA member Conor Nugent was denied entry at a Crazy Ray’s location and became a part of the complaint. After months of hearing little from them (during which our staff was informed that we’d been referred to a mediation process, with no apparent success), our contact admitted that nothing had been heard from Crazy Ray’s, meaning that the time for mediation was over and
the time for formal investigation of the illegal conduct beginning.

The next MCHR staff member assigned to our complaint began by expressing doubt that age discrimination was actually illegal and implying that it was hardly objectionable for retailers to be interested in banning people under 18 from entering their stores. Our agenda was questioned, our motives were doubted, and we were told “that’s not how things work.” Through diligence, and the ability to remain calm while being yelled at on the phone, we eventually got our case transfered to a case worker who is actually interested in ending discrimination. We now expect resolution within a few days. A case that was looking more and more like a dead end and a victory for ageism will soon be resolved after a year and a half struggle. Stay tuned next month for the final chapter in the Crazy Ray’s saga.