SE Texas Record

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Atlanta woman says medical leave, refusal to discriminate resulted in firing from Houston job

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Jul 8, 2013

HOUSTON - An Atlanta woman alleges she was fired from her job in Houston for taking time off to recover from an operation and has pursued legal action.

Erlene Rivera sued Houston resident Aaron Webster and Webster Foods LLC in Harris County District Court last month.

The Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas received the lawsuit on June 28.

Court papers show the parties entered into a two-year employment contract which called for Rivera to move from Florida to Texas to work for the respondents in 2010.

Rivera asserts she worked "tirelessly" for the defendants, but they did not follow corporate policy, stating Webster purportedly asked her not to hire minorities to which she objected.

In late March 2011, she required an emergency procedure to remove a tumor, and was instructed to go on a month's rest afterwards.

The suit claims Rivera was coerced back to work against her doctor's orders.

She was terminated on May 15, 2011, during a newly-imposed medical leave.

According to the original petition, the dismissal in question was in retaliation to the plaintiff's refusal to engage in racial discrimination and a violation of the aforementioned agreement.

Rivera adds she has suffered "great financial and emotional hardship" following the termination.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Shakira Cruz of The Cruz Law Firm PLLC in Houston is reprsenting the complainant.

Case No. 4:13-CV-1908

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