Native American files racial discrimination lawsuit against Coca-Cola

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 24, 2011, 10:48am

SHERMAN - A Native American merchandiser with Coca-Cola has filed a lawsuit claiming he was a victim of discrimination and ultimately lost his job due to that discrimination.

John F. Johnson filed suit against Coca-Cola Refreshments USA Inc., formerly known as Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. on Oct. 12 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

According to the suit, Johnson, a Native American, was employed by the defendant as a merchandiser at its Sherman location for the past nine years. He claims he was a victim of discrimination based on his national origin.

Johnson states that in April 2010, he was put on a personal improvement program and at the 30-day review, he failed because one six-pack of Diet Coke was unaccounted for.

In contrast, Johnson states that a white co-worker was placed on a personal improvement program and allowed to pass the reviews despite multiple out-of-date products in his stores. Although the co-worker failed the 90-day review, he was allowed to retain his job, according to the lawsuit.

Johnson was terminated on Aug. 16, 2010, for not punching in correctly on his Blackberry at his first stop of the day. Johnson contrasts his termination with a white-coworker, who received a verbal warning after repeatedly punching out at his home instead of when he left his last stop of the day.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for mental anguish, punitive damages, attorney's fees, court costs and interest.

Johnson is represented by Sherman attorney Ronald R. Huff.

A jury trial is requested.

Case No. 4:11-cv-00649

More News