Black man claims he was referred to as 'tar baby'; files discrimination suit

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jun. 25, 2012, 11:14am


HOUSTON - Manvel resident Vance L. Crosby alleges he was fired from Philip Holdings LLC because of his race.

A lawsuit filed June 11 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, Crosby alleges the defendant, doing business as Philip Services Corp., intentionally interfered with his ability to be employed as a driver due in part to his African American heritage.

Crosby worked for the defendant from October 2002 to August 2005.

During that period of almost two years, according to the original petition, the plaintiff complained to management "on more than one occasion" about specific incidents of racial discrimination and racially offensive comments, including being referred to a as "tar baby."

"'Tar baby' carries an extremely offensive stigma created in slave days to make a black person feel inferior," the suit says.

"It also describes a black person whose skin color is extremely dark."

The plaintiff claims the race-based mistreatment continued despite his talks with management.

He claims that other African American drivers were also subjected to racial epithets. He says one employee stated he "always wanted to shoot a black one."

Crosby was terminated "for alleged policy violations, improper conduct and insubordination" on Aug. 8, 2005, despite his positive work performance record, according to the suit.

Consequently, he seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Attorney Katrina S. Patrick with the Law Offices of Katrina Patrick in Houston is representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. is presiding over the case.

Case No. 4:12-cv-1749

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