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Employee alleges discrimination after firing for cellphone use

Mobile technology has become an everyday part of the lives of most Americans. As a result, many Texas businesses have implemented rules concerning employee cellphone use. Within a company, the same role-based rules should apply to every employee. When workers in similar job roles are not held to the same standards, an employee may feel that he or she is the victim of discrimination.

A former employee for Motiva is claiming he lost his job was because he was seen using his cellphone. As part of his job duties, the plaintiff claims that he was to record when products were delivered. This was normally done on paper, but the man alleges that the printer ran out of paper. Alternatively, he recorded the information on his phone instead, and this action was recorded by a surveillance camera.

He was later called to human resources and questioned as to whether he understood the safety protocols regarding phones. The man was fired because he used his cellphone in a prohibited area. According to his complaint, co-workers who were not Aftrican-American had committed worse offenses, but were able to retain their jobs.

If a Texas employee feels that he or she is the victim of discrimination due to any protected characteristic, he or she may first want to attempt to discuss the matter with his or her employer. Should an agreeable solution not be met, the worker may wish to pursue legal action. Based upon evidence of discrimination, the employee may be returned to work, paid lost wages or awarded damages as deemed appropriate by the court and based upon the individual circumstances of the case.

Source: setexasrecord.com, "Removed to federal court: suit accusing Motiva of firing man for using cell phone at refinery", David Yates, Dec. 2, 2014

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