SE Texas Record

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Motiva accused of unlawfully firing man for using cell phone at refinery

By Kelly Holleran | Aug 19, 2014

Motiva 150x150

A former Motiva Enterprises worker claims he was terminated after using his cell phone to complete a work-related task.

George W. Davis IV filed a lawsuit July 28 in the Jefferson County District Court against Motiva Enterprises.

In his complaint, Davis claims he used his cell phone Jan. 13 at a dock after discovering printers had run out of paper. As part of his job duties, Davis was required to record the times products are delivered, according to the complaint. Normally, he would use the paper to record the times, the suit states.

To avoid a delay, Davis decided use the note pad feature of his Apple iPhone 5 to record the times instead of utilizing the paper, the complaint says. Meanwhile, a video surveillance camera was recording his work, he claims.

On Jan. 15, Davis was called into human resources and asked whether he knew cell phones were prohibited in certain areas, according to the complaint. On Jan. 23, he was fired for safety violations, including the use of a cell phone without a permit in a restricted area, the suit states.

By firing Davis, Motiva discriminated against him, the complaint says. Davis contends his non-black co-workers have committed more serious offenses but have remained employed.

The plaintiff learned a white employee of the same plant was discovered taking a call on his cell phone while operating a motor vehicle in the plant, the suit states. Such offense was stated to be grounds for termination, based on a safety card that was routinely passed out to all plant employees. That employee remained a Motiva employee.

The plaintiff also learned another non-African-American employee retained his job even after committing safety violation so egregious it could have resulted in a catastrophic explosion at the plant, according to the suit.

Because of his job loss, Davis says his financial security has been jeopardized.

He seeks direct, actual, consequential and pecuniary damages, plus attorney’s fees, costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just.

He is being represented by attorney Stephen P. Webb of Webb and Webb in Austin.

Jefferson County District Court case number E195-917

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the Jefferson County District Court. 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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