Caucasian man claims he faced discrimination by Hispanic coworkers

Kelly Holleran Oct. 29, 2014, 1:34pm

A Montgomery County man alleges he was fired after suffering discrimination at the hands of his Hispanic co-workers.

Richard Gamel alleges he began working as a machinist for defendant Grant Prideco in Navasota. At the company, many of Gamel's co-workers were Hispanic and he was Caucasian, according to the complaint filed Sept. 12 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas. 

Gamel began to experience racial discrimination and requested transfer to another unit, the suit states. However, the transfer was not approved and Gamel was instead asked to meet with his supervisors, the complaint says. During the meeting, Gamel revealed the harassment, but he alleges it continued.

Stressed and anxious, Gamel began to experience fatigue and sleeplessness, according to the complaint. Unbeknownst to Gamel, he suffered from hepatitis C, which was also aggravated due to his heightened stress levels, the suit states. 

"This coincided with a number of changes in Mr. Gamel's work schedule, as his start time and quitting time were shifted on several occasions," the complaint says. "Mr. Gamel could not stay asleep but then would fall asleep at the wrong time, including at work. On one occasion, he fell asleep for about 10 minutes while standing up."

Gamel went to a doctor, who recommended that he be provided with a consistent work schedule, the complaint says. When Gamel provided the note to Grant Prideco, the company sent him home and refused to allow him to work, he alleges.

On Jan. 16, 2012, Gamel was able to obtain a second note from his doctor, which said Gamel could continue his current work schedule until a better one could be worked out, according to the complaint.

However, Grant Prideco told Gamel that they could not accommodate his disability and, therefore, could not allow him to return to work, the suit states.

"Grant Prideco thus terminated Mr. Gamel's employment," the complaint says.

Gamel says Grant Prideco terminated him in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In his complaint, Gamel seeks back and front pay, plus compensatory and punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Attorney David C. Holmes, of Houston, will represent Gamel.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number: 4:14-CV-2636.

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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