Vietnamese employee for metro authority says demotion was racially motivated

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jul. 30, 2012, 4:20pm


HOUSTON - Claiming the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County discriminated against her because of her race, Hoa Thi Nguyen is pursuing legal action.

A lawsuit filed July 20 in Houston federal court asserts the alleged mistreatment is Metro's way of retaliating against Nguyen, who is of Vietnamese descent, for complaining about her low pay in comparison to her colleagues.

Nguyen was a human resources manager for the defendant.

The suit explains that Metro's vice president of human resources and diversity "had been giving substantial pay grade and pay increases to HR managers other than Nguyen, the only HR manager of Asian national origin" and also brought in someone to supervise the plaintiff without posting the position.

Metro and Nguyen subsequently entered into a settlement agreement while she was out of work on medical leave.

Court papers state the plaintiff experienced "retaliatory" conduct upon her return, adding she was ultimately demoted to a position with the information technology department without explanation.

According to Nguyen, the experience "was totally humiliating to her."

"It was obvious to Nguyen that Metro was intent upon forcing her to quit, but Nguyen refused to give them the satisfaction," the original petition says.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Andrew S. Golub with Dow Golub Remels & Beverly LLP in Houston is representing the complainant.

Case No. 4:12-cv-2184

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