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Workers' compensation claims spawn a racial discrimination suit

A man who worked for Georgia-Pacific Wood Products (GP) claims that he unjustly lost his job due to an injury. The Texas plaintiff, who is black, also accuses the company of racial discrimination. He alleges that his supervisor disciplined black employees more harshly than his coworkers. This activity apparently caused black workers to not be promoted or given raises, and some were ultimately fired.

The man hurt his wrist on-the-job, so he went to the doctor to have it checked and found out that he had a sprain and could have a hematoma. After the injury, he filed for workers' compensation to the visible dismay of his supervisor. He claims that the severity of his discipline increased after he filed the claim. His supervisor apparently accused him of using marijuana when his claim was submitted without a drug test. The plaintiff later took a test that showed he was negative for drug usage.

Reportedly, the wrist injury did not allow for the plaintiff to be able to perform his job functions as normal. According to the complaint, he was not provided a reasonable accommodation for his restricted duty and received more discipline. Ultimately, the employee lost his job and was allegedly not given his benefits.

A complaint was filed against GP alleging that the former employee lost his job unjustly, was retaliated against and was the victim of racial discrimination. He further accuses the company of being in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Texas Labor Code. If he is successful in his case, he may be awarded monetary damages, lost wages and court costs. Employees who feel that they are being treated differently compared to their peers may assess their right to file a claim against their employer to prevent discriminatory practices at work and to seek financial relief as deemed just by the court.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, "Man says former employer violated the ADA, Texas Labor Code", April Bamberg, Aug. 27, 2014

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