Woman claims employer would not stop co-workers from making racially derogatory statements

Michelle Keahey Nov. 7, 2012, 4:00am

NEW ORLEANS - After five months of employment, a woman has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit that claims her employer fired her for complaining about racially derogatory statements that co-workers directed at her about her relationship with a black man.

Elizabeth A. Mitchell filed suit against Restore Sleep Center Holdings on Oct. 2 in federal court in New Orleans.

Mitchell was employed by the defendant from Aug. 15, 2011 to Jan. 5. 2012, the suit says. During her employment, she claims defendant's employees made racially derogatory statements directed at her. She complained about the comments to the supervisor and requested contact information for the compliance manager. Mitchell says she was never provided the compliance manager's information.

"Defendant was motivated to terminate plaintiff's employment because of plaintiff's association with a black man," the lawsuit states.

According to the lawsuit, Mitchell usually worked at least two hours of overtime and claims she is owed 197 hours at her overtime rate of $23.62. In addition, she claims she is owed $25 per month for five months for reimbursement of her cell phone.

The defendant is accused of discriminating against Mitchell in violation of her civil rights and violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for all overtime hours, unpaid overtime wages, penalty wages, back pay or front pay, loss of earnings, compensatory damages, attorney's fees, court costs, and interest.

Mitchell is represented by Thomas J. Hogan Jr. of Hogan & Hogan in Hammond. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-02422

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