White worker accuses Hispanic supervisors of discrimination

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Dec. 21, 2009, 5:16am

GALVESTON - A Galveston County man claims he was terminated from his welding position with a maritime repair company because he is white, recent court documents say.

In a lawsuit targeting Gulf Copper Dry Dock and Rig Repair, Michael McCarrell explains that his foremen, both Hispanics, said racist things to him and dismissed him from their crews.

"The defendant failed to comply with the duty to take all reasonable and necessary steps to eliminate discrimination from the workplace and to prevent it from occurring in the future," the suit says.

The case was filed Dec. 17 in Galveston County Court No. 3.

Court papers say Gulf Copper hired McCarrell on April 13. According to the complaint, the plaintiff says his first foreman commented to him about "not wanting a white boy on his crew," and says the supervisor gave his time card to another foreman.

McCarrell was then instructed to work elsewhere on the defendant's premises and he joined a different crew.

The same foreman visited the site and made derogatory remarks to McCarrell again, the suit says.

Shortly afterwards, McCarrell was assigned welding duties on a rig when another foreman told him that he did not want to work with a white male, the suit says.

McCarrell insists he reported the alleged discriminatory statements to upper management and the human resources department, but was instructed to go on leave and wait for a call at home.

He soon learned that he was terminated for lack of production, the suit says.

"This so-called justification was a pretext for unlawful, discriminatory action and wrongful termination," the original petition states.

McCarrell says he has suffered pain and suffering, extreme and severe mental anguish, and emotional distress.

He seeks damages to cover his lost wages and benefits as well as a jury trial.

Houston attorneys L. Lee Thweatt and Joseph D. Terry are representing the plaintiff.

Galveston County Court No. 3 Judge Roy Quintanilla is presiding over the case.

Cause No. 62,030

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