Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Dec. 6, 2012, 11:27am

After 35 years of employment, an African-American heavy equipment operator for the Lower Neches Valley Authority is suing his employer for continued acts of racial discrimination, which include disciplining him more harshly than non-African-American employees.

Lionel Briggs filed suit against the LNVA on Nov. 28 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

Briggs, an African-American male, was hired by the defendant in 1977. He is currently employed as a heavy equipment operator. According to the suit, Briggs claims that throughout his career he has suffered racial discrimination on a continuing basis.

Specifically, he argues that he was disciplined more harshly than other similarly situated LNVA employees because of his race, the lawsuit states.

The defendant is accused of employment discrimination, which includes race discrimination and retaliating against Briggs for opposing discriminatory employment practices and complaining about discrimination directed at him and other employees and former employees.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for back pay, compensatory damages, front pay, mental anguish, interest, attorney’s fees and court costs.

Briggs is represented by Houston attorney David J. Quan. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone is assigned to the case.

This is the third discrimination case filed against the LNVA within the last six months. In the first, filed April 24 in Jefferson County District Court, canal rider Rodney Bushnell claimed a history of discrimination and harassment, including allegations that a white worker threatened to tie Bushnell to the back of his truck. The suit was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Tyler Division on May 29. Quan is also representing Bushnell.

Another suit, filed by plaintiff Eric Brisco Sr., was filed June 6 in Jefferson County. Brisco alleged he was denied advancement and was denied a light duty assignment after an on-the-job injury.

Case No. 1:12-cv-00563

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