Worker alleges discrimination, harassment

By Carol Ostrow | Apr 10, 2015

A Harris County man sued his Houston employer for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Jeff Schamp of Houston filed a lawsuit on March 31 against Lyondell Chemical Co. in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, claiming failure to accommodate his disability during an illness in 2012.

The plaintiff, who had worked for Lyondell since 1991, was diagnosed with cancer in early 2012, having first noticed an abnormality in late December 2011. When he informed his employer, he was promised coverage for medical leave along with associated benefits, according to court documents.

Schamp claims that upon his return to work after leave, he experienced a hostile work environment, particularly from his supervisor Mark Taylor. According to court documents, Taylor had been reported by other co-workers to human resources for discriminatory practices and specific harassment of the plaintiff during Schamp’s absence.

The grievance cites further observations of racially tainted slurs against other workers by Taylor and alleges that despite multiple reports to the human resources department, no action was ever taken to correct the alleged discriminatory behavior. Desiring to avoid further stress, Schamp went directly to manager Dean Hoffman requesting investigation, cessation of harassment and a transfer.

According to the suit, when the plaintiff learned of alleged plans to retaliate against him while awaiting investigation, he experienced a dangerous spike in blood pressure and required medical attention, thus necessitating more short-term disability leave.

The suit states that upon his return, Schamp was never granted his transfer; and that harassment and retaliation further increased. He was taunted with threats of termination, according to the complaint; suspended on July 16, 2012 with no explanation; and terminated on July 23.

Citing disability discrimination and retaliation, the plaintiff seeks: compensatory and punitive damages for lost wages and front pay; pre- and post-judgment interest; attorney’s fees; expenses and costs. Schamp is represented by Alfonso Kennard Jr. and Monica Nunez-Garza of Kennard, Blankenship, Robinson in Houston.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case no. 4:15-cv-00829.

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