Citgo named in lawsuit alleging wrongful termination because of race

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jul. 30, 2012, 4:00pm


HOUSTON - An African-American woman has filed a lawsuit alleging that race was a factor in her termination from Citgo Petroleum Corp.

Jackie Grudger filed suit against the corporation on July 17 in federal court for the Southern District of Texas-Houston Division.

In the suit, Grudger alleges she was subjected to "an environment that a reasonable person would find offensive, abusive and/or hostile." She also alleges that her complaints about the situation were not properly addressed prior to her termination earlier this year.

Citgo hired the plaintiff as a senior administrative assistant in January 2007, the suit states. Grudger claims she began to experience mistreatment in January 2011 and faced further harassment six months later. She alleges that neither event was remedied promptly or properly, the suit states.

According to the suit, a non-black colleague supposedly engaged in unacceptable conduct without reprisal whereas she was given a final warning even though she previously had a clean record.

The suit argues the warning was "inconsistent with CITGO's custom, policies and/or procedures."

The plaintiff "was notified that a complaint of harassment had been filed against her and she was suspended, with pay, pending the outcome of the investigation into the complaint now being made against her."

She was terminated on Jan. 19.

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

Attorney Deshonda Charles Tackett with The Tackett Law Firm PLLC in Houston is representing the complainant.

Case No. 4:12-cv-2145

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