Last week we discussed the case of a man in Texas who claimed his employer cost him a job because he complained about being discriminated against. This week, we have learned of another case in which a worker allegedly lost his job for complaining about discrimination. These cases are unfortunate reminders of the fact that although employment discrimination is very clearly illegal under federal law and under Texas law, it still happens in many workplaces.
In the more recent case, a truck driver says that the management in his company treated black employees unfairly by speaking to them in a demeaning way, placing them under different rules than white workers, and even denying them benefits and privileges. The man says he complained about the mistreatment on Jan. 10, and the next day he was fired.
He has now filed a lawsuit, accusing the company of violating his civil rights both by discriminating against him and retaliating against him. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is one of the main laws under which it is illegal to discriminate against employees or job candidates on the basis of race.
The man has filed his lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas and he is requesting back pay; job reinstatement, or instead front pay; damages for loss of earnings, benefits and earning capacity; damages for pain and suffering, as well as emotional distress and mental anguish; punitive damages; interest; court costs and attorney's fees. He has also asked for some sort of injunction in order to keep the employer from discriminating against any other workers in the future.
That final request is a very important and common element of discrimination and retaliation lawsuits. While it is very important for victims of discrimination to obtain compensation for their losses, it is also critical for policies to be put into action so that people stop experiencing illegal and inexcusable discrimination on the job.
Source: The Southeast Texas Record, "African-American truck driver sues employer claiming disparate treatment," Michelle Keahey, Jan. 23, 2013