GALVESTON – A man of Pakistani descent has sued his former Galveston employer on allegations of discrimination, retaliation and unlawful termination.

Iftikhar A. Sheikh believes his national origin may have been a factor in American National Insurance Company's decision to end his seven-year stint as one of its senior auditors in November 2007. Sheikh filed the lawsuit on June 4 in Galveston County District Court.

The suit traces its origins to May 2006 when Sheikh, who was employed by American National's corporate audit services division, was placed under a new supervisor. During the change in management, Sheikh stumbled on information that he believed showed the company treated him unfairly.

"Plaintiff discovered that a similarly situated employee was paid a significantly higher salary than he," says the suit. "Plaintiff was disturbed."

Sheikh consequently addressed the matter, claiming the pay differential was discriminatory. He also complained that his employers treated him poorly as opposed to his co-workers.

The suit states American National suspended Sheikh without pay for a week in late July 2007 after the latter scored a negative job performance review.

The plaintiff decried the move as a revenge tactic for previously demanding an end to the alleged discrimination against him and aired his grievances to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"Plaintiff detailed 12 specific areas in which he in good faith believed was being discriminated against because of his race and national origin," explains the suit.

The original petition further contends American National "embarked upon a deliberate trajectory designed to smear plaintiff's performance, distort his accomplishments, overburden him with impossible work assignments, and construct a false justification to terminate his employment."

As a result of his termination, argues the suit, Sheikh suffers and will continue to suffer "irreparable injury, monetary, emotional, actual, consequential, and compensatory damages."

Attorney Peter Costea is representing Sheikh.

The case has been assigned to Judge Wayne Mallia.

Case No. 08CV0576

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