Hazardous waste truck driver files age discrimination lawsuit

By Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau | Jul 11, 2011

SHERMAN - A hazardous waste truck driver has filed an age discrimination lawsuit against his employer after he was fired for allegedly violating company policy.

Rene Pruett filed suit against Safety-Kleen Systems Inc. on June 28 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

Pruett began working for Safety-Kleen in 1996 and was terminated in AugUST 2010.

According to the lawsuit, Pruett was picking up a load of waste material from Englewood, Colo., for transport back to the defendant's facility in Denton.

Pruett states he called the waste generator's secretary, Sheryl Gocio, and received permission to sign her name so that the truck would remain on schedule and she would not have to come in after hours.

"Despite following Safety-Kleen protocol, consent from manager Bob Sorenson, and express authority from Gocio to sign the manifest, Safety-Kleen cited Pruett's authorized signing of the manifest in Gocio's place as reason to terminate Pruett," the lawsuit states.

Pruett argues that the other employees were not disciplined or terminated for approving or upholding the standard waste transportation practice. He argues the reason for his termination is pretextual and false and he was fired because he was older than the other employees.

The defendant is accused of age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Age and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for lost wages and benefits, back pay and front pay, liquidated damages, compensatory damages including emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, interest, attorney's fees and court costs.

Pruett is represented by Joseph H. Gillespie and Adam S. Greenfield of Gillespie, Rozen & Watsky in Dallas. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:11-cv-00396

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