Drilling company employees sue over racially hostile work environment

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Apr. 13, 2010, 8:27am

MARSHALL-Three employees of a Texas drilling company are suing their employer claiming the supervisors regularly and frequently use racially degrading terms.

Montrel D. Pipkins, Meldun L. Williamson and Brian I. Rocha filed suit a lawsuit against Sandia Drilling Co., Joe Johnson, Leon Alburty and Justin Smith on April 5 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

In addition to using racial slurs, the defendants are accused of giving preferential treatment to white employees, accusing black employees of stealing, placing a noose on an employee's vehicle, ridiculing a Hispanic employee for dating a black woman and withholding pay raises and other entitlements because of race.
The plaintiffs allege the hostile environment caused them to seek other employment opportunities in April 2008. Four months later, the employees filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The plaintiffs argue the actions of the defendants violated federal statutes, the Fourth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments.

"Defendants through custom and practice condoned and tolerated an atmosphere of harassment and discrimination based upon race of employees which in fact created a hostile work environment," the complaint alleges.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for mental anguish, humiliation, financial loss, pecuniary losses, emotional distress, pain and suffering, punitive damages, court costs, and attorney's fees.

Louisiana attorney Richard B. King, Jr. of Lunn, Irion, Salley, Carlisle, & Gardner is representing the plaintiffs.

U.S. District Judge David Folsom is assigned to the case.

Case No 2:10cv00123

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