Woman says race, gender caused her to lose engineering job at Caterpillar

By Kelly Holleran | Aug 19, 2014

A former Caterpillar employee has filed suit against the company, claiming she was forced to perform an unfair amount of additional work – more than was expected of her white, male counterparts.

Vendetta D. Hardy filed suit July 31 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Sherman Division against Caterpillar Global Mining Equipment LLC.

According to the complaint, Hardy, a black female, began working as a manufacturing engineer II for Bucyrus, which was later acquired by Caterpillar, in April 2011. As such, she was expected to respond within 24 hours to any manufacturing problem and was also supposed to meet a production quota of finished equipment units, according to the complaint.

When Bucyrus and Caterpillar merged, Hardy’s classification as a manufacturing engineer II was dropped to a manufacturing engineer I, the suit states. However, she claims the same thing did not happen to her male, white colleagues.

In February 2012, Hardy earned only a slight raise and bonus. The same raise was offered to manufacturing engineers I, but manufacturing engineers II received better raises and bonuses, according to the complaint. Hardy would have received the better monetary raise had she been permitted to stay as manufacturing engineer II, the suit states.

Again in 2013, Hardy was denied a raise after her superiors told her she was earning at the top of the pay scale, the complaint says.

In March and April 2013, Hardy was assigned to an “unreasonable number of tasks to perform related to the product line she was overseeing,” the suit states. Although Hardy claims she told management of her overwhelming work load, she says she continued to be asked to perform the same amount of work and even lost a fellow co-worker who was helping her on the project.

On May 6, 2013, Hardy was placed on an action plan, which required her to meet with one of her supervisors on a regular basis. However, the supervisor avoided or minimized the meetings, according to the complaint. She began to be excluded from numerous meetings in the following months. A workplace altercation occurred between her and a male colleague who “yelled, cursed and lunged at her” on July 29, 2013, the suit states.

On Aug. 15, 2013, Hardy was told she had lost her job due to lack of satisfaction of her action plan and her “purportedly being slow,” the complaint says.

Hardy says she was repeatedly subjected to race and sex discrimination throughout her tenure with Caterpillar. For instance, she was denied some raises afforded to other peers and was denied promotions, according to the complaint.

Hardy says Caterpillar violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against her due to her race and sex. Caterpillar also deprived her of her equal right to work due to her race, violated Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code and violated the Equal Pay Act, the suit states.

Hardy seeks an unspecified judgment.

She will be represented by Robert E. Goodman Jr. of Kilgore and Kilgore in Dallas.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Sherman Division case number 4:14-cv-00492

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Sherman Division. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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