NEW ORLEANS - A team leader for Exxon's Chalmette Louisiana refinery has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit claiming he was fired for a co-worker's mistake.

Prentis Wilson filed suit against Exxon Mobil Corp. – CHRF and Exxon Mobil on July 15 in federal court in New Orleans.

Wilson was hired by the defendants in December 2009 at Exxon's Chalmette Louisiana Refinery.

Wilson states that he notified his supervisors numerous times that one reformer unit was malfunctioning and inaccurately measuring the amount of product in the unit. On Aug. 19, 2010, an incident occurred involving that reformer unit. The product stored in the unit overflowed and caused a fuel spill of hundreds of gallons of product.

According to the lawsuit, on the day at issue, Wilson's Caucasian co-worker was in charge of the controls on the unit that overflowed.

Wilson was terminated for "violation of safe work procedures" related to this event.

The defendants are accused of violating Wilson's civil rights by intentionally discriminating against Wilson and for bad faith breach of contractual obligation.

The defendant is accused of punishing "only African-American employees for alleged violations of safety rules while permitting violations by Caucasian employees to go unpunished was a gross violation of the obligations created between Plaintiff and Defendants," the lawsuit states.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for emotional distress, grief, mental anguish, loss of intellectual and professional employment, back pay and front pay, humiliation and embarrassment, loss of reputation, loss of enjoyment of life, punitive damages, interest, attorney's fees, and court costs.

Wilson is represented by G. Karl Bernard of G. Karl Bernard & Associates in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-01935

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