Black employee sues over noose at workplace

Kelly Holleran Oct. 3, 2011, 7:00am

A black man has filed suit against his former employer and supervisors, alleging he lost his job because of the color of his skin.

Calvin Brown claims he was working as a welder for defendant CB&I when defendant Mike Anderson placed a hangman's noose in Brown's vicinity. In addition, Anderson racially harassed Brown, according to the complaint filed Sept. 15 in Jefferson County District Court.

Because of Anderson's behavior, Brown complained to CB&I of a hostile work environment, the suit states.

In response to Brown's complaints, CB&I fired him under the guise of a lay-off, the complaint says.

"Plaintiff was discharged even though white employees who retained their positions had less seniority, more tardies and worse work performance," the suit states.

In addition to CB&I and Anderson, Brown names Mike Sossman and Irving Gatica, who he claims were in managerial positions at CB&I and who allegedly retaliated against him.

"Upon information and belief, Plaintiff asserts that these individual Defendants also engaged in a pattern of slander and defamation per se against Plaintiff to other employees and/or officers of CB&I, and these actions did not occur within the bounds of either an absolute or qualified privilege," the suit states.

Because of his job loss, Brown experienced emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience and mental anguish and lost his enjoyment of life, the complaint says.

In his complaint, Brown is seeking actual and punitive damages, plus attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

He will be represented by John S. Morgan of Harris, Duesler and Hatfield in Beaumont.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court.

Case no. E190-914

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