Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 1, 2012, 2:08pm

MARSHALL - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against Sandia Drilling in an effort to stop the company from allegedly committing racial and national origin discrimination against its workers. 

According to the lawsuit, which was filed Sept. 26 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, employees Montrel Pipkens, Meldun Williamson and Brian Rocha were discriminated and harassed by their supervisors at Sandia Drilling.

“The harassment led to the constructive discharge of Pipkins and Williamson and the retaliatory termination of Rocha after he complained of the discrimination to Sandia management,” the lawsuit states.

Pipkens began working for the defendant in Nov. 2006 as a floor hand and later, as a derrick hand. Williamson began working for the defendant in the mid-200s as a floor hand and later, as a motor man. Both men were allegedly subject to racial slurs by their supervisors on the mobile oil rigs.

Pipkens quit his job after he was ordered to climb about 10 feet without any safety mechanism to complete a job. Williamson “felt compelled to resign” in May 2008 after a supervisor made a racial slur in front of co-workers.

Plaintiff Rocha was hired in Jan. 2008 as a floor hand. His co-workers allegedly physical threatened him based on his race and national origin.  Rocha complained of the discrimination and he was terminated a couple of weeks later.

The EEOC is asking the court to issue an injunction to prevent the defendant from further race-based harassment, and for award of damages of back pay, interest, pecuniary losses, lost benefits, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation, punitive damages and interest.

A jury trial is requested.

Case No. 2:12-cv-00615

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