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East Texas inspector files reverse discrimination suit

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in Discrimination and Harassment

A former employee of Signal International has filed a reverse discrimination lawsuit against the oil rig construction company, claiming that he was fired because he is white.

Johnnie W. Tomlin began working as a safety inspector at Signal East Texas facilities in May 2006. He lost his job in August 2009, as the company trimmed its workforce to deal with the down economy.

Before he was laid off, Tomlin’s lawsuit says, he received excellent evaluations. According to Tomlin, his supervisor told him he would be rehired as soon as work picked up.

But, Tomlin alleges, approximately one month after he was fired, a black worker who was less qualified was transferred to Tomlin’s old job. In February 2010, Signal rehired Tomlin in a different position that paid less. However, he says, a supervisor told him he would be promoted back to safety inspector as soon as a position opened. Instead, Tomlin argues, Signal hired a second and third black employee to fill inspector jobs.

Tomlin complained to the EEOC. Sixteen days later, Signal terminated Tomlin again as part of another reduction in force. That’s when he sued, accusing the company of discrimination. He is seeking more than $100,000 in lost wages.

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