Pepsico employee sues employer for race-based denial of promotion

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Aug. 25, 2010, 4:19am

A Beaumont Pepsi employee is accusing the company of denying him a promotion based on his race.

Alleging violations of his civil rights, Ulysses Graves filed suit against Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Group, also known as PepsiCo Inc., also known as Pepsi Beverage Co. and also known as Pepsi Bottling Co. on Aug. 23 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

Graves began working for the defendant in 2008 as a sales representative. He was laid off in January 2009 but was rehired as a "relief sales representative" for large format sales.

Graves applied for a large format sales position in August 2009 but was denied the position.

Graves states he was denied a promotion within the company based on his race although he was "unquestionably the best person for the sales position." Instead of promoting him, the defendant promoted a "less-qualified white person," Graves alleges in his original complaint.

Graves argues his employer ignored his superior educational background, his business management experience and his exemplary sales ability for a "white man with no knowledge of beverage sales and virtually no experience working for the company."

According to the complaint, Graves received a similar promotion in July 2010 to a large format sales representative position but the company allegedly reorganized the sales route so that Graves received a smaller route.

Graves is seeking damages for lost wages and benefits, compensatory damages for mental anguish, interest, court costs and attorneys' fees.

Graves is represented by Margaret Harris and Paul R. Harris of Butler & Harris. Jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield is assigned to the case.

Case No. 1:10cv00499

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