A Rite Aid district manager is suing the company for racial discrimination after being fired for payroll fraud.

Malcolm Armstrong filed suit against Rite Aid June 3 in federal court in New Orleans.

Armstrong says that during his employment with Rite Aid he worked with two pharmacists, both white, who allegedly did not want to take instructions from an African-American. Armstrong, who is African-American, claims the pharmacists made racially-motivated complaints to a supervisor. Armstrong believes those complaints prompted a poor performance appraisal in May 2008.

Armstrong says he complained about the fairness of the appraisal and was subjected to "pervasive harassment," false accusations and unfair performance criticisms as a result. Armstrong says these would have caused a reasonable employee from pursuing his remedies.

In June 2009, Armstrong says he refused to pay a salaried pharmacist for additional hours that would have exceeded the store's budgeted hours. "Plaintiff had been instructed several times over the course of his employment to do this very same thing or be terminated," the lawsuit states.

He was terminated for payroll fraud, which he claims was a pretext for retaliatory termination.

Armstrong is seeking damages for lost wages for three months, lost wages due to a reduced rate upon rehiring, lost bonus for 2009, lost opportunity to invest in shares of Rite Aid, lost promotional opportunities, emotional distress, punitive damages, attorney fees, costs and trial by jury.

Metairie attorney J. Courtney Wilson is representing Armstrong.

U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv01647

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