Suit alleges Oceaneering did not properly investigate Houston man prior to termination

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Dec 19, 2012

HOUSTON - Houston resident Gary Bledsoe claims Oceaneering forced him out of employment because of his race.

According to recent court papers filed Dec. 17 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, the defendant mistreated Bledsoe, who is of African American descent, before firing him for offenses he alleges were not properly investigated.

Oceaneering, an offshore oil and gas industry engineering firm, hired the plaintiff as a driver in its intervention engineering department in February 2006.

The suit shows Bledsoe put in "loyal and dedicated years of service" and earned "satisfactory and greater performance evaluations and a number of raises" until approximately six months ago when the respondent made him "the subject of a discriminatory crusade".

While in the process of untying a load, a warehouse supervisor informed Bledsoe that he was suspended and ordered to clean out his truck and surrender his badge and company cell phone.

The original petition states Oceaneering imposed the purportedly temporary suspension because someone falsely reported that Bledsoe committed an unsafe act, adding the plaintiff unsuccessfully contested the accusations.

Bledsoe asserts the disciplinary act in question was a revenge tactic in response to the times he reported the colleague's misconduct.

He further argues that Oceaneering did not give him the chance to defend himself or even issue him a warning.

The suit ultimately accuses Oceaneering of giving preferential treatment to its non-African American workers with regards to discipline and terminations.

Meanwhile, the defendant dismissed Bledsoe.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Nikeyla Johnson with the Johnson Law Firm in Houston is representing the complainant.

Case No. 4:12-CV-3656

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