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Truck driver files race suit against Alice energy company

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

A former employee of Texas Energy Service is suing the company under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, alleging it fired him because he is black.

Rodney A. Simmons began working for Texas Energy in 2005 as a tractor-trailer driver working out of the company’s Goliad truck yard. Simmons’ lawsuit alleges that management often used racial slurs, such as referring to him as “boy.” He also accuses the Alice-based company of assigning him a disproportionate number of labor-intensive and late-day jobs.

In addition, Simmons claims the company often asked him to violate the hours-of-service rules mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Those rules say commercial vehicle operators may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty.

The coup de grace occurred in February 2010. Simmons’ lawsuit ­alleges that he was fired for refusing to take on an additional assignment at the end of a shift. At the time, Simmons was already one hour over his 14-hour limit. He claims a dispatcher told him he had to haul fresh water to a drilling rig near Kenedy.

According to Simmons, management had already asked three other nonblack employees to make the run, but they had refused. Simmons refused, too. That’s when he says Texas Energy fired him.

In April 2010, Simmons filed complaints with the EEOC and the Texas Workforce Commission’s Civil Rights division.

Texas Energy argued that Simmons had agreed to take the addi­tional assign­ment and had started the process of loading his truck. However, the company alleges, Simmons abandoned his job after getting a personal call on his cell phone.

Simmons’ failure to complete the assignment, the company claimed, violated its policy prohibiting disobedience of orders and leaving the workplace too early. Thus, according to Texas Energy, Simmons’ termination was justified.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Marshall Green January 26, 2013 at 9:31 am

Most people don’t understand the tremendous power middle managers wield at companies like this and when you have power, arrogance, cockiness, all combined these managers honestly don’t care if they get sued. They feel they can do what they want and especially in Texas where most of them hate any governmental intervention anyway they are worse.

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Marshall Green January 26, 2013 at 9:20 am

There is still a lot of racism in the workplace directed towards blacks, especially since President Obama has been President. I have seen this as well. I worked at a company in Carrollton, TX fairly recently which had a policy that everyone had to stay until the work was complete. However, the company would let my white coworkers leave without permission when they felt like it. They never stayed late and their work was often brought to me to complete. This was wrong because I knew if I would have left the job, work undone, without permission I would have been terminated. On the spot.

A black female coworker left work one day with permission and the manager wasn’t high enough because she was called back and she was sick.

The company I worked for had managers who would often refer to the black employees as roaches and even called one of my male coworkers a ******.

Most people would be surprised at how racist these places are to work in.

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