Demoted employee files racial discrimination lawsuit against employer

Michelle Keahey Aug. 24, 2011, 5:00am

After spending years working his way up through a company only to be demoted, an African American employee is claiming it was racial discrimination.

Tyrone Harrell filed suit against Orkin on July 13 in St. Charles Parish District Court. The defendant removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on Aug. 5.

Harrell began working for the defendant as a service technician in 1995. He states he worked up through the company until he was constructively discharged in September 2010. Harrell argues that he was subjected to a pattern of discriminatory acts by Orkin on the basis of his race and these acts led to adverse employment actions taken against him.

He claims there were demotions, refusals to promote, disciplinary actions taken against him in violation of both state and federal law and Orkin company policy, refusals to give raises, benefits and bonuses and the creation of a hostile work environment.

"Ultimately, Harrell was forced to resign from his employment at Orkin on September 20, 2010 and seek employment elsewhere," the lawsuit states.

Orkin is accused of violating the Louisiana employment discrimination law.

The plaintiff is seeking general damages, compensatory damages, back pay, front pay, lost earnings, attorney's fees, court costs and interest.

Harrell is represented by Michael D. Letourneau of Murphy, Rogers, Sloss & Gambel 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-01866

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