Senior manager accused credit union of discrimination

By Annie Cosby | Dec 16, 2014

A Brazoria County woman is suing over claims her employer intentionally excluded her from an executive management team based upon her age.

Dorothy Cooper filed a lawsuit Oct. 22 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against PrimeWay Federal Credit Union, citing race, gender and age discrimination.

According to the complaint, Cooper was hired by the defendant in 1975 as a loan interviewer and was awarded numerous promotions eventually, in 1983, becoming vice president of operations, which included supervision over five other branch locations and 40 employees. Cooper says she was promoted to senior vice president of operations in 1991 and her role was expanded into senior vice president of member services in 2001.

The complaint states the position was allegedly terminated so she was moved to senior vice president of compliance and security in 2012, and, though the job included more duties and responsibilities, her annual compensation was not increased. Cooper says, similarly, in 2013, her role was expanded to senior vice president of compliance, security and facilities, but her compensation was not increased.

The lawsuit states that in 2010, the defendant hired as its president and chief executive officer Annette Zimmerman, who was, at the time, holding the position of senior vice president of member services, the allegedly eliminated role Cooper was removed from. The complaint states Zimmerman's reorganization created an "executive management team," from which Cooper was excluded, making her ineligible for additional financial benefits and privileges, including a deferred compensation plan. Cooper says other senior management personnel similarly situated to herself were included.

Cooper, a 62-year-old African-American woman, argues the decision to exclude her from the executive management team was based upon her age, race and gender. PrimeWay is accused of discrimination.

Cooper seeks compensatory, liquidated and punitive, damages, including back pay, front pay, attorney fees and costs of suit. She is represented by attorney David K. Mestemaker of Mestemaker, Straub and Zumwalt in Houston.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number: 4:14-CV-03020

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