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Main claims discrimination after being fired for cell phone use

In many employee handbooks, the use of cell phones is strictly prohibited in work areas and they are to be used only in break rooms or away from the public. For some Texas businesses, using a cell phone in certain areas can even be dangerous. Employees who violate this policy, regardless of any discriminatory factors, should be punished equally to one another. If one employee is receiving preferential treatment over another because of his or her race, the company may be headed for a discrimination lawsuit.

A worker who was employed by Motiva Enterprises believes that he was fired unjustly for using his cell phone. According to his lawsuit, the plaintiff stated that his job was to record when product deliveries are received, and he typically would record the information on paper. During one of his shifts, he claims that the printer was out of paper so he instead used the notepad feature on his phone to record the information.

Later, he stated that he was called into human resources and questioned as to whether he understood that it was against policy for him to be using his phone in certain work areas. Although a surveillance camera saw what he was doing with his phone, he claims that he lost his job for violating safety protocols and using his phone in a prohibited area without a permit. The plaintiff asserts that his peers -- who were not black -- had committed other safety violations that were far more dangerous than what he had done, but they were still able to keep their jobs.

The former employee filed a claim against Motiva Enterprises in a Texas district court, claiming race discrimination. He is asking the court for financial relief for damages and related court fees, as well as any other remedies that the court may award him. In the workplace, all employees should be treated equally. If a worker believes that he or she is being singled out due to his or her race, the employee may elect to file a claim against the employer and be awarded judgment based upon the individual details of each case.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, "Motiva accused of unlawfully firing man for using cell phone at refinery", Kelly Holleran, Aug. 19, 2014

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, "Motiva accused of unlawfully firing man for using cell phone at refinery", Kelly Holleran, Aug. 19, 2014

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