Houston man accuses AT&T of racial discrimination

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Aug. 9, 2012, 3:00pm


UPDATED-Includes comment from AT&T

HOUSTON - Houston resident Richard E. Wilson Jr. has filed suit against AT&T Corp. for alleged racial discrimination.

A lawsuit filed July 20 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas claims the discrimination led to Wilson's firing last year from his position as retail sales consultant.

The plaintiff, who was hired by AT&T in April 2008, explains that he worked "without serious issue" until late 2010 when the respondent hired Paul Lykke to supervise him.

Lykke, a Caucasian, subjected Wilson, an African-American, and other black employees to "unpleasant" treatment, according to the original petition. Wilson additionally alleges Lykke treated his white colleagues better.

AT&T spokesman Marty Richter stated in an email to the Record, that "AT&T is a nationally recognized leader in diversity and inclusion, something in which we take great pride."

"While we cannot comment on the specific allegations here, we will address them in Court. You can find many examples of diversity-related recognition AT&T has received here: http://www.att.com/gen/general?pid=20350. A good example is here: http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=22348&cdvn=news&newsarticleid=33821&mapcode=mk-customer-diversity|mk-employees."

The suit further states that Lykke made it difficult for Wilson to be accepted in the defendant's tuition-reimbursement program, asserting the supervisor purposely delayed the application process.

Another example of Lykke's misconduct included disciplining the complainant and other non-white workers for infractions while not doing the same to their white counterparts, the suit says.

Wilson shows he was terminated for supposedly violating the company's attendance policy despite "(explaining and providing) proof that he was late reporting to work due to an error and/or malfunction of AT&T's phone system that he was required to utilize to maintain his work schedule and which was issued to him by AT&T — and over which (the plaintiff) had no control."

He learned from a former co-worker shortly after his dismissal that "Lykke was openly laughing and mocking Wilson's termination and that Lykke sent out a text to several employees informing them of Wilson's termination."

Lykke is not a defendant in the suit.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Marjorie A. Murphy with The Murphy Law Practice in Houston is representing Wilson.

Case No. 4:12-cv-2203

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