Woman accuses employer of age, race discrimination

Annie Cosby Dec. 18, 2014, 2:15pm


A Texas woman is suing over claims she was passed over for promotions due to her age and race and ultimately fired after filing grievances.

Linda J. Donnie filed a lawsuit Oct. 27 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against Central United Life, citing employment discrimination.

According to the complaint, Donnie had more than 14 years of experience when she was hired by the defendant as associate manager of the underwriting department in 2000, and she advanced to manager of the department. The complaint states the positions under her were eliminated in 2007, and she was solely responsible for successfully maintaining the department's standing. Donnie says that in 2007, Lee Ann Blakely, a younger white female became chief operations officer, and Donnie, an African-American, began to be treated differently, with her decisions being overridden, her underwriting decision reversed and being presented in a bad light to agents, the corporation and customers.

The lawsuit states that in 2009 and 2013, a new division and new unit were opened, but Donnie, despite her extensive experience, was not considered for the positions, although she was asked to train those who were. Donnie says one such new employee whom she trained was promoted, presented as the "face of the underwriting department," and reached levels of compensation and responsibility past Donnie's.

According to the lawsuit, Donnie filed a grievance with the company, which only resulted in a hostile work environment and the implementation of an "improvement plan" for the plaintiff. Donnie says that after the 90-day "improvement plan" was over, during which time she continued to excel at her job, she was dismissed under the pretext of an allegedly "wrong" underwriting decision she'd made a year earlier. The defendant is accused of racial discrimination, age discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

Donnie seeks damages, back pay and front pay, reinstatement, an order enjoining the defendant from continuing its discrimination against the plaintiff, interest, and attorneys' fees for the attorney she hired for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proceedings. She is appearing pro se in this case.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number: 4:14-CV-03073

More News