Georgia-Pacific sued for racial discrimination by African-American worker

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Aug. 6, 2012, 10:00am


LUFKIN - An African-American worker has filed a lawsuit against Georgia-Pacific that alleges he was fired because of his race.

Stephon D. Lane filed suit against Georgia-Pacific Corp. on Aug. 4 in the Eastern District of Texas, Lufkin Division.

Lane, an African-American, began his employment with the defendant in 1998 and was terminated from his position in April 2011.

"On April 15, 2011, Plaintiff and his supervisor, Clayton Hardgis, were adjusting the sensor eyes on a production line to ensure that a weight controlled by the eyes dropped evenly," the suit states. "Plaintiff first adjusted one eye, then Hardgis adjusted the other eye. Plaintiff, a black male, and Hardgis, a white male, did so while the line was running."

"Defendant advised Plaintiff on April 15, 2011, that he was suspended for three days without pay for violating company safety procedure, allegedly for adjusting the eyes while the line was in operation," according to the suit. "On April 20, 2011, Defendant advised Plaintiff that his employment was terminated because of the incident."

Lane claims Hardgis was not terminated, suspended or disciplined. He avers that no Caucasian or Hispanic employees have been terminated for safety violations of this or similar nature.

The defendant is accused of racial discrimination in violation of Lane's civil rights.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for mental anguish, loss of income, cost of job search, medical expenses, lost benefits and benefit contribution, cost of replacement coverage, attorney's fees and court costs.

Houston attorney Larry M. Champion is representing Lane.

A jury trial is requested.

Case No. 9:12-cv-00122

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