Longtime Car Salesman Rocky McCullough: Dealership Fired Me Because I Have Cancer
McCullough says he turned the dealership around, then was fired because he has cancer.
Photo Courtesy Rocky McCullough
You might recognize Rocky McCullough from his Goodson Honda TV spots, where he guaranteed low prices while standing next to a buxom model or two. But now McCullough is playing a different role: the plaintiff in an employment discrimination lawsuit against Southern Ford in Pearland.
McCullough claims he was fired because he was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in December 2011 and the company didn't want him on their insurance plan. According to the suit, filed in Harris County District Court, McCullough was hired as general manager in November 2011 and fired in April 2012, even though "the dealership's sales were up 247.6 percent over the prior year to date."
The suit claims that, despite undergoing weekly chemo treatments, McCullough "continued to work at the dealership 50-60 hours each week, returning to work every Wednesday after his Tuesday treatments, and working on Saturdays."
McCullough also alleges that office managers told others that "we didn't give Rocky cancer," and "it's not our fault that Rocky has cancer."
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. UConn Huskies College Football
TicketsThu., Sep. 29, 11:00am
Battle of the Piney Woods: SFA vs. SHSU
TicketsSat., Oct. 1, 3:00pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 11:00am
Rice University Owls Football vs. UTSA Roadrunners Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 6:00pm
At least seven employees left as a show of solidarity, McCullough and his attorneys say.
McCullough, who's worked in auto sales since 1978 and served as chairman elect for the Houston Auto Dealers Association, tells Hair Balls that he's never fired an employee struggling with a serious illness: "I've had people with life-threatening illnesses, whether it be them, a spouse or a parent, and not one time did I terminate any of those people. Not one time did I cut their pay or not pay them any time they were out...because it's just the right thing to do."
Southern Ford denies the allegations in a press release, stating, "We pride ourselves on maintaining a workplace free from unlawful harassment or discrimination....Southern Ford incurred significant operational losses during Mr. McCullough's tenure that resulted in his termination. We are confident that out decision was both justified and lawful."
No matter how this turns out, we wish McCullough the best. This just sucks all around.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.