Black woman claims discrimination by Motiva

Kelly Holleran Jul. 23, 2012, 8:12am


A Port Arthur woman claims her employer discriminated against her, allowing a white male certain privileges it did not permit of its female, black employees.

Carolyn Warwick filed a lawsuit July 10 in Jefferson County District Court against Motiva Enterprises.

In her complaint, Warwick, a black female, states she began working as a payroll clerk for Motiva on Oct. 30, 1968. Since then, the company has hired three other payroll clerks. Three of the clerks, including Warwick, are black women while one is a white male, the suit states.

The plaintiff alleges that Motiva discriminates against the black employees, allowing the white male worker certain rights not permitted of the other three clerks, the suit states.

"The white male receives preferential treatment and is allowed to come and go as he pleases," the complaint says. "He is not required to use his vacation time if he decides to take a long lunch period. Plaintiff, however, is forced to either make up her time or take vacation time off if she needs to take an extended lunch period."

The suit states that during the past year, Warwick developed an eye condition. On doctor's orders, she is not able to drive at night. This has impacted her work schedule because she is expected to be at her job between 6 and 7 a.m., she claims.

"Plaintiff wanted to be paid for the time that she could not report to work due to her condition, but her request was denied," the suit states. "When plaintiff returned to the doctor, she requested the removal of the restriction. Mr. Morgan, the white payroll clerk, constantly reported to work at 7 a.m. and left at 3:35 p.m., which is not the full nine-hour shift the clerks are required to work."

Warwick claims Morgan's hours are not fair because he receives the same compensation as her for fewer hours spent working. After Warwick made numerous complaints, the issue was finally resolved in December when Morgan was allowed to work extra hours on "non-closeout weekends," according to the complaint. However, when Warwick requested the ability to work on the same weekends, her request was denied, the complaint says.

Although Warwick claims she has made numerous complaints about the alleged unfair treatment, her concerns have gone ignored by company officials. In fact, on March 21, Warwick states she was told not to issue any more letters to the company or her employment would be terminated.

In her complaint, Warwick is seeking an unspecified judgment within the jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus exemplary damages, pre-judgment interest at the maximum rate allowed by law, post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Gregg M. Rosenberg and Brian J. Levy of Rosenberg and Sprovach in Houston will be representing her.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. A192-663

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