Refinery worker claims job-related stress led to disability

Michelle Massey May 9, 2011, 4:34am

A Valero employee has filed a lawsuit against his company arguing that job-related stress caused by intimidation and racial discrimination has resulted in the employee being placed on long term disability.

Calvin White filed suit against Valero Refining – New Orleans, d/b/a Valero St. Charles Refinery, Valero Services Inc. and Valero Energy Corp. on April 29 in federal court in New Orleans.

White began working as a pipefitter in the maintenance department of Trans America Refining Co., a predecessor to the defendants, in March 1998 and was promoted to a step-up supervisor in October 2001. According to the lawsuit, White was denied equal access to overtime opportunities in favor of Caucasian employees and was subjected to intimidation tactics, including racial slurs.

In December 2009, White reported a contractor was refusing to perform his job duties.

Shortly thereafter, the contractor filed a sexual harassment grievance against White. White was placed on immediate suspension.

The employee states the situations caused increasing work-related stress, for which White began seeking medical treatment. Eventually, he was placed on short-term disability and in January 2011, he was placed on long term disability.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, bad-faith breach of contract damages, lost benefits, mental anguish, humiliation and embarrassment, loss of enjoyment of life, compensatory damages, punitive damages, interest, attorney's fees and court costs.

White is represented by G. Karl Bernard and Eric L. Register of G. Karl Bernard & Associates in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

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

Case No. 2:11-cv-01014

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