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After Black man wins discrimination lawsuit, bank refuses to cash his checks

Sauntore Thomas (Image source: Facebook / @sauntorethomas)

After winning a lawsuit centered around discrimination in the workplace, a Michigan man ran into another round of discrimination from his bank.

Sauntore Thomas initially sued his former employer, Enterprise Leasing Company of Detroit, for racial discrimination. Details of the lawsuit and settlement remain confidential, according to the Detroit Free Press.

On Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, Thomas took three checks to TCF Bank in Livonia, Michigan, that were issued by his former employer. The checks were for $59,000, $27,000, and $13,000, respectively. At the time, Thomas’ bank account only had 52 cents in it.

The bank allegedly refused to cash Thomas’ checks after claiming they were invalid. Thomas called his attorney, who attempted to explain the situation, but the bank still refused to cash his checks.

Bank officials eventually called the police and opened a fraud investigation. It was later determined that the checks were valid.

On Thursday, Jan. 23, TCF issued an apology.

“We apologize for the experience Mr. Thomas had at our banking center. Local police should not have been involved. We strongly condemn racism and discrimination of any kind. We take extra precautions involving large deposits and requests for cash, and in this case, we were unable to validate the checks presented by Mr. Thomas and regret we could not meet his needs.”

Thomas, 44, says he will sue the bank for unspecified damages.