A Mississippi dockhand is suing his employer for racial discrimination after co-workers physically assaulted him, causing him to flee the boat and swim to shore.

Douglas Clayton filed suit against John W. Stone Oil Distributor on Sept. 9 in federal court in New Orleans.

Clayton was working as a dockhand for the defendant from May 6, 2010 to Nov. 9, 2010. He states during his employment, he was regularly subjected to race-based harassment by various employees, including being the butt of "black jokes," and being subjected to other improper racial comments. He states he reported this behavior to Human Resources Manager and was transferred to another boat.

According to the lawsuit, the harassment continued and he was told to "lighten up." The same day, he learned that an employee that was harassing him on the previous boat was being transferred to the boat that Clayton was now assigned.

Clayton states he was physically assaulted and battered by this employee and others, causing him to flee the boat and swim to shore.

He was terminated for job abandonment.

The defendant is accused of racial discrimination and retaliation against Clayton.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for back pay, front pay, lost benefits, compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney's fees, costs and interest.

Clayton is represented by Mark S. Stein of Marnell L. Piglia of Lowe, Stein, Hoffman,
Allweiss & Hauver in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

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

Case No. 2:11-cv-02276

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