Employment Attorney Gregory D. Jordan Comments on $831,000 Settlement in Discrimination Lawsuit
Mar 26, 2014
Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) March 26, 2014 – A former police chief has settled a lawsuit against the city of Jasper, Texas and other defendants, having claimed that he was discriminated against because of his race.
Rodney Pearson, the first African-American police chief of Jasper, filed the lawsuit. He claimed that Jasper Mayor Mike Lout, also the owner of a local radio station, portrayed Pearson as a “thief” in an attempt to stoke racial tension against him. Pearson’s employment was terminated in June 2012 after a recall election removed three black city council members and elected a white majority.
“Racial discrimination in employment is prohibited by both federal and Texas law,” says Gregory D. Jordan, an Austin employment attorney not involved with the case. “It makes no difference whether the employer is a government entity or a private employer — either way, the employee is protected. But it is extremely disturbing and merits swift action when someone uses the power of the State to engage in discriminatory conduct. Hopefully, this settlement will help put an end to such practices.”
Pearson alleged that Lout used the former chief’s personnel file to portray him as a “criminal,” while not mentioning the commendations and awards he received during his 20 years with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Pearson was hired in February 2011 as interim police chief and took over full time in April of that year. The city of Jasper used a controversial point-scoring system to rank applicants for the position. Pearson’s critics claimed that more qualified white applicants were passed over when the then-majority-black city council hired him.
Pearson was fired after a group called the League of Concerned Citizens gathered signatures on petitions to recall three of the city council’s four black members who voted to hire him. After an election resulted in a four-to-one white majority on the city council, the council voted four to one to fire Pearson.
White residents who did not support Pearson said that their concerns were not about race, but about Pearson’s failure to disclose a 1990 misdemeanor arrest for writing a bad check and his lack of municipal law enforcement experience on his employment application.
The controversy reignited racial tensions in the town where James Byrd, Jr., a black man, was dragged to his death behind a pickup truck by three white men in 1998. Pearson, then Jasper County’s first black state highway patrol officer, was the first officer to respond to the scene of that crime.
To learn more, visit http://www.theaustintriallawyer.com/
Law Offices of Gregory D. Jordan
5608 Parkcrest Drive, Suite 310
Austin, Texas 78731
- Medical Device Maker Seeks $2 Million from Competitors in Noncompete Lawsuits
Smith & Nephew (S&N), a medical device maker, has filed lawsuits against two competing companies in Texas federal court, seeking $1 million from each company on allegations that they poached sales personnel who were bound by covenants not to compete. The lawsuits were filed against Central Texas Orthopedic Products Inc., an Austin-based distributor for Biomet […]
- Indian American Files Federal Employment Discrimination Lawsuit Against Texas Company
An Indian American employee has filed a federal employment discrimination lawsuit against Schwan’s, a Texas home food delivery company, claiming that was subjected to racial discrimination and physical abuse while under the company’s employ. Sandeep Gupta worked as a location manager in Houston for Schwan’s until he quit in 2013. He said he was subjected […]
- Multibillion-Dollar Dispute Between Texas Energy Companies to Go to Trial
In Dallas, a trial is set to begin in a business dispute between two large Texas energy companies contesting whether a business partnership had been formed between them. Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners filed the lawsuit against Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners and Enbridge Inc. of Calgary, Alberta. Energy Transfer Partners claims that a business partnership had […]