HOUSTON – A Houston man alleges he was discriminated against by his former employer because he is an American.

Samuel Gonzales filed a complaint on Aug. 3 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against ConocoPhillips Co., Frank Alexander, Dan Mecham and ConocoPhillips Severance Pay Plan alleging that they violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff was hired by the defendants in May 2002 as a petroleum engineer and accepted an assignment at the defendants' facility in 2011 in Australia. He alleges in March 2016, he was placed in Australian immigration detention to do the defendants' failure to sponsor his work visa. After release, the suit states he was deported back to Houston in July 2016 and his position in Australia was replaced by an Australian national.

The plaintiff alleges he was terminated the same month for allegedly violating policy by not being able to work even thought he was involuntarily detained in Australia.

The plaintiff holds ConocoPhillips Company, Frank Alexander, Dan Mecham and ConocoPhillips Severance pay Plan responsible because the defendants allegedly terminated his employment by not to sponsoring his 457 visa in Australia based on the fact that he is American and refused pay his claim for severance benefits.

The plaintiff seeks a trial by jury and compensatory and punitive damages, back pay and front pay, attorney’s fees and costs and all further relief to which he is justly entitled. He is represented by Connor Throckmorton and Bruce A. Coane of Coane and Associates PLLC in Houston.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number 4:17-cv-02374

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