Houston man accuses Ernst & Young of discrimination

Andrea Dearden Sep. 10, 2014, 3:05pm

A Houston man has accused a professional services firm of discrimination, claiming the company fired him because of his age and medical history.

Christopher Cotter filed the complaint against London-based Ernst & Young on Aug. 5 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas. 

Cotter says he worked for Ernst & Young as an SAP manager from March 2012 to August 2013. According to the complaint, Cotter is 52 and "suffers from peptic inflammatory disease and labile hypertension", a condition that he says causes nausea and vomiting. The man's doctors "instructed him to avoid stress and not to sit in a confined space for longer than four hours," the lawsuit reads.

Cotter says the defendant knew about his disabilities because he submitted medical documentation and requested he be allowed to fly business class on a work trip to China. Cotter says Ernst & Young denied the request "without any reason and sent a younger, less experienced, non-disabled employee" instead.

According to the complaint, Cotter filed a formal complaint for discrimination and was told by company's HR department that he would be allowed to fly business class on future flights. Cotter says he was fired by Ernst & Young a short time later. He contends his job was terminated in retaliation for the discrimination complaint.

Cotter claims his medical condition never affected his attendance or level of performance at Ernst & Young. He accuses the company of disability discrimination, age discrimination, retaliation and violations of the Texas Labor Code.

He is asking to be awarded an unspecified amount of money for past and future wages, lost benefits, compensatory damages, punitive damages and liquidated damages along with court costs.

Attorney Alfonso Kennard Jr. of Kennard Law in Houston represents Cotter. He seeks a trial by jury.

The case number is Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case 4:14-cv-02241.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas. 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.

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