TCEQ employee sues for racial discrimination

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Dec. 27, 2007, 5:51am

MARSHALL -- After being fired for watching a movie during his lunch break, a TCEQ employee is claiming the termination was really because of his race in a federal lawsuit.

Employed over seven years as an engineering technician with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Edmond Johnson was terminated on February 27, 2007, after allegedly violating company policies. Johnson, an African-American, was accused of misuse of state property after watching a movie during lunch.

Johnson states the use of the state-owned video equipment was known to employees and was a regular activity for approximately a year and a half prior to his termination. Therefore, Johnson believes he was treated differently and discriminated against because of his race.

Johnson filed a discrimination suit against Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on Dec. 13 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Within the complaint, Johnson alleges TCEQ "enacted and effected policies and practices of unlawful and systematic exclusion of and discrimination" against him as an African-American. The plaintiff states the defendant violated the Civil Rights Act of 1991 through "failing to equalize conditions of employment for plaintiff as contrasted with Caucasian employees; and adopting unreasonable, unwarranted, and arbitrary standards and conditions of employment designed to discriminate against Plaintiff in favor of Caucasian employees."

The Tyler resident is seeking damages for lost back wages, emotional pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and attorney fees. Further, the plaintiff is seeking exemplary damages, stating the employment practices of the defendant were intentional and malicious acts.

Representing the plaintiff is Tyler attorney William S. Hommel Jr.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward will preside over the litigation.

Case No.: 2:07cv00540

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