Man says former employer violated the ADA, Texas Labor Code

April Bamberg Aug. 27, 2014, 2:30pm

A former employee of Georgia-Pacific Wood Products in Corrigan says he was wrongfully terminated based on racial discrimination and for filing a worker's compensation claim following an on-the-job injury.

Bobbie J. Lane Jr. filed suit Aug. 1 in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Texas Beaumont Division against Georgia-Pacific Wood Products LLC. 

According to the complaint, Lane, an African-American man, began work for the defendant April 22, 2013, and says his supervisor, a Hispanic man named Arnulfo Cuevas, allegedly disciplined African-American employees more severely than others, which led to denials of promotions and raises and to the termination of African-American employees.

The plaintiff injured his wrist while working July 9, and court papers say employees of the defendant tried to convince him he was only suffering from cramps. When he went to his primary care physician on July 15, he was diagnosed with a sprain and possible hematoma, the suit states. He then filed a claim for worker's compensation.

The lawsuit says Cuevas was visibly angry with the plaintiff for filing the claim and increasingly disciplined him for actions that others were not disciplined for. After the plaintiff submitted his claim without a drug test, the court papers say Cuevas suspended him and accused him of having marijuana in his system. The plaintiff underwent a drug test immediately and six days later, a drug test came back negative, according to the filing.

The plaintiff's injury prevented him from performing his job duties, and the lawsuit alleges the defendant did not accommodate the restrictions, which led to increased discipline. The increased discipline led to the plaintiff's termination and denial of benefits. He was terminated Sept. 9, according to the filing.

The lawsuit alleges the defendant is guilty of unlawful employment practices including racial discrimination, retaliation, violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing reasonable accommodations and violations of the Texas Labor code.

The plaintiff seeks back pay including wages and benefits that he would have earned had he not been subjected to unlawful conduct, less any wages, unemployment compensation and worker's compensation benefits, reinstatement and front pay, compensatory damages in the past and future as well as attorney's fees.

The plaintiff also seeks exemplary damages for the defendant's malicious actions.

Lane is represented by Kenneth W. Lewis of Bush Lewis PLLC in Beaumont.

United States District Court of the Eastern District of Texas Beaumont Division case number 1:14-cv-00400-KFG

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in theUnited States District Court of the Eastern District of Texas Beaumont Division. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

More News