Racial discrimination suit filed against Goodyear's Tyler plant

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Feb. 27, 2008, 4:33am

MARSHALL -- Instead of remaining on strike at the Tyler Goodyear plant, employee Shaira Lynch returned to work believing Goodyear's "zero tolerance" for trouble would be sufficient to avoid co-workers' harassment.

However, once the strike ended and her co-workers returned, Lynch alleges offensive racial comments began to appear in various places throughout the plant.

Believing Goodyear did not take any actions to stop the discriminatory behavior, Lynch filed a racial discrimination suit against Good Year Tire and Rubber Company on Feb. 25 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Employed by Goodyear since 1999 as a belt and shear operator and later as a trucker, Lynch states that she became the target of vulgar racial comments after crossing a strike line to return to work. According to the original complaint, the company said that there would be zero tolerance for trouble against those workers who crossed the strike line.

Lynch states that when the other employees returned to work at the end of the strike, she began seeing "vulgar writings" regarding her race in various places in the Tyler plant. Lynch states that she followed company policy and reported the comments several times to the human resources department but believes the company did not take enough remedial actions.

Due to the alleged lack of company response, Lynch believes "she was treated differently than other non- African American employees, and was thus discriminated against because of her race."

Specifically, she alleges Goodyear is liable for "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."

Lynch is seeking damages for lost back wages, emotional pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and attorney fees.
Lynch is also seeking punitive damages arguing Goodyear's conduct was "willful and malicious discrimination."

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

Judge T. John Ward will preside over the litigation.

Case No.: 2:08cv00080

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