Reverse discrimination lawsuit filed against East Texas company

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Jan. 18, 2011, 7:00am

A former safety inspector has filed a reverse discrimination lawsuit that claims he was terminated due to his race.

Johnnie W. Tomlin filed suit against Signal International on Jan. 4 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division. He is seeking $100,000 in damages

Tomlin was hired by the defendant in May 2006 as a Level 2 Safety Inspector. He states he was terminated in August 2009 due to a reduction in force because of lack of work for Signal International.

According to court documents, at the time of his termination Tomlin had an excellent evaluation and was earning $21.70 an hour. Tomlin states he was eligible for rehire and claims he was told he would be rehired as soon as work picked up.

Tomlin states approximately one month after his termination, a less qualified black worker was transferred to his safety inspector position. The plaintiff was rehired by the defendant in February 2010 in a different position for less pay. He states he was told he would be promoted back to his other position as soon as one was available.

However, Tomlin states the defendant hired a second and a third black worker to fill the safety inspector position.

He filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in July 2010 and he was terminated 16 days later for another reduction in labor force.

The defendant is accused of violating Tomlin's civil rights by committing reverse discrimination.

The plaintiff is seeking more than $100,000 in lost wages and for an award of lost benefits, reinstatement into his former position, mental anguish and emotional distress, exemplary damages and court costs.

Tomlin is represented by Kenneth W. Lewis of Bush Lewis in Beaumont. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone is assigned to the case.

Case No. 1:11-cv-00003

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