White pharmacy clerk claims racial discrimination

Michelle Keahey Nov. 7, 2011, 4:11am


A white pharmacy clerk has filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart claiming the company violated her civil rights by terminating her employment after she made complaints regarding race-based hostility.

Michelle L. Dexter, who worked at a Hammond Wal-Mart, filed suit against Wal-Mart Louisiana on Oct. 28 in federal court in New Orleans.

Dexter claims that in July 2011, the assistant store manager, a black male, demanded that Dexter leave the pharmacy and work in the grocery section. Dexter protested and accused the assistant store manager of acting out of racial motivations. She informed the store manager of the overt racial hostility.

While her supervisor was out on vacation, Dexter was disciplined for taking an extended lunch break, which was 17 minutes beyond the 15 allotted, the complaint states. Dexter's co-worker was similarly reprimanded. A few days later, Dexter was terminated for "payroll integrity and misuse of company time," the suit claims.

Dexter claims she also was accused of extending her lunch break by two hours instead of the previously stated 17 minutes. The co-worker was not terminated, although she had been with Dexter during the extended break.

Dexter was replaced by a black pharmacy clerk, the suit claims.

The defendant is accused of terminating Dexter because she complained of race-based hostility.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for lost wages, salary, employment benefits, general damages for usual mental upset and distress, punitive damages, front pay with benefits, attorney's fees, interest and court costs.

Dexter is represented by Dale E. Williams of the Law Office of Dale Edward Williams in Covington. Jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-02702

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