Railroad company sued for racial discrimination after trainee fails test

By Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau | May 6, 2013

A white male training to work for a railroad company has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit claiming that a black instructor gave him the wrong test and then terminated him after he failed it. 

Daniel Cooper filed suit against Union Pacific Corp. on April 29 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

Cooper, a white male, was hired to work for the defendant in November 2011 for its location in Beaumont. The defendant is accused of intentionally discriminating against Cooper because of his race in violation of his civil rights by denying employment opportunities and treating Cooper differently than employees of other races.

According to the lawsuit, Cooper passed his switchman/brakeman tests and worked as a brakeman while he continued his conductor training. He and a fellow black trainee were the only ones to pass the conductor’s test on the first attempt and advanced to take the air brake test.

A black male instructor allegedly gave them both the wrong test, which did not cover the subject the trainees had studied, the lawsuit claims. Cooper states that the instructor helped the black trainee with his test, even providing answers, but did not help him. Cooper claims he was fired following the test for not scoring a 90 percent and the defendant would not allow him to take the correct test.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for back pay, front pay, compensatory damages for emotional pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life, exemplary damages, attorney fees and court costs.

Cooper is represented by Kenneth W. Lewis and Stephen L. Townsend of Bush Lewis PLLC in Beaumont. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the case.

Case No. 1:13-cv-00255

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