Employee sues after losing job for allowing hazardous waste to be transported to landfill

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau May 16, 2011, 7:16am

SHERMAN - Although his employer states he was terminated for allowing hazardous waste to be shipped to non-hazardous landfill, an industrial waste employee has filed a lawsuit against his employer claiming his termination was actually an act of discrimination.

Claiming he was fired due to his race and age, Robert Jackson filed suit against Safety-Kleen Systems Inc. on May 6 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

Jackson began working for Safety-Kleen in 1994 and was terminated on March 19, 2010.

During his employment, part of Jackson's responsibilities included keeping the line loaded with drums to be shipped for transport. On March 10, 2010, an improperly marked shipment left the facility carrying hazardous waste containers to a non-hazardous landfill.

Although it was Jackson's responsibility to release the shipment, he claims there were several people involved in the error. Jackson, however, was the only one terminated for violating shipping codes.

Jackson claims the reason for his termination was a pretext, and that he was terminated because he was older and black.

The defendant is accused of violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, violating Jackson's civil rights and violations of the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for lost wages and benefits, back pay and front pay, liquidated damages, compensatory damages for emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, punitive damages, interest, attorney's fees and court costs.

Jackson is represented by Joseph H. Gillespie and Adam S. Greenfield of Gillespie, Rozen & Watsky in Dallas. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:11-cv-00262

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