Terminated for off-color joke, employee files age discrimination lawsuit

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Mar. 22, 2010, 6:55am

SHERMAN-After work and out of the office, a Suddenlink Communications employee made an off-color joke to a group of men whom he believed shared his sense of humor. One of the men allegedly complained about the joke and the employee was terminated.

Claiming he was discriminated against based on his age in violation of his civil rights, John Billy Dever Jr. filed suit against Cequel III Communications I LLC, doing business as Suddenlink Communications, on March 10 in the Sherman division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Dever, who is over the age of 40, states that he was not the only one making off-color jokes, yet he was the only employee terminated over the incident. Specifically, Dever argues that the man who complained about the joke, who is under 40 years old, also made a similar joke but did not suffer any adverse employment action.

The plaintiff also his employer retaliated against him after he reported incidents of his manager sexual harassing other employees. Dever states that he was trying to protect the individuals and oppose the manager's illegal behavior by reporting what he had learned to the Human Resources Manager. The plaintiff believes this incident factored into his termination.

The plaintiff is seeking back pay and benefits, future pay and benefits, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney's fees and costs of suit.

McKinney attorney Dan Chern of the law firm Hammerle Finley is representing the plaintiff.

Jury trial demanded. U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the litigation.

Case No 4:10cv00101

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