Terminated employee claims drinks at company event led to DUI

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Jun. 6, 2011, 5:00pm

After being arrested for driving while intoxicated while out of state on a company project, a former Exxon Mobil employee states he was treated unfavorably because he is African-American and was fired.

Claiming violations of his civil rights, James Jones filed suit against Exxon Mobil Corp. on June 1 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

James Jones, an African-American male, began his employment with the defendant in Beaumont in Jan. 2008 until his termination in April 2010.

According to the allegations, Jones worked the graveyard shift for more than 25 days in a row on a project in California. He states that after getting off of work early in the morning of April 10, 2010, he was summoned to a company sponsored event referred to as a "Stand Down Safety Meeting."

In his suit, the former employee claims that safety was not high on the agenda, but rather drinking was the main event.

On the way back to his hotel room, Jones placed his vehicle into park while at a red light and he went to sleep. He was arrested and cited for driving while intoxicated.

A few days later, Jones was advised he was terminated for violating company policy. He states he tried to resign in lieu of termination, but ExxonMobil was firm in their decision that he be terminated.

The defendant is accused of racial discrimination in violation of Jones' civil rights.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for loss of earnings, loss of earning capacity, mental anguish, embarrassment, inconvenience, pain and suffering, actual damages, medical expenses, punitive damages, attorney's fees and interest.

Jones is represented by Melissa Moore and Rochelle Owens of Moore & Associates in Houston. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the case.

Case No. 1:11-cv-00275

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