Veterinary hospital sued over racial discrimination claims

Michelle Massey Apr. 1, 2011, 5:13am


A Banfield veterinary hospital is being sued for committing acts of racial discrimination against one of its staff members.

Claiming civil rights violations, Theresa Cosper filed suit against Elmwood Veterinary Services d/b/a Banfield The Pet Hospital on March 17 in federal court in New Orleans.

Cosper, an African-American, began her employment with Banfield in April of 2010 as a pet nurse until her termination on June 26, 2010.

About six weeks into her employment, Cosper states her co-workers requested she look at a video about "stupid names that black people name their children." According to the lawsuit, Cosper claims she was uncomfortable and offended and refused to watch the video. Two days later, Cosper claims she was written up for gossiping about the staff.

On June 25, Cosper sent a letter to her supervisor regarding race discrimination and said that she was being treated in contradiction of Banfield's anti-harassment policy. The next day, she was terminated for personality conflicts with the employees, the suit claims.

Cospher is asking the court to permanently restrain the company from further unlawful practices and for an award of back pay, interest, bonuses, pension and other lost benefits, front pay, compensatory damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of reputation, embarrassment and humiliation, punitive damages, court costs and attorneys fees.

She is represented by New Orleans attorneys James L. Arruebarrena and Rachel Martin-Deckelmann. A jury trial is demanded.

U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00609

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