Man alleges discriminatory workplace forced him to quit job

By Elaine Goodman | Aug 25, 2015

An African-American man is suing a former employer over allegations that he was forced to quit his job due to a hostile and discriminatory work environment.

Amite resident William D. Edwards filed the lawsuit Aug. 4 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, accusing Smitty’s Supply, Ed Smith and Jimmy Ellis of violating his civil rights.

Edwards worked for Smitty’s Supply for about six months in 2014, starting at $10.50 an hour and receiving a raise to $12 an hour after three months, according to the lawsuit.

During Edwards’ time at Smitty’s Supply, the work environment was “peppered with racial slurs” and “distinctly racial overtones,” the claim states.

While Edwards worked there, the business hired three Caucasian workers and started them at the same pay Edwards was receiving, despite his seniority, the lawsuit claims.

Edwards said in his lawsuit that the defendants had denied him equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. He is asking the court for a $10.5 million judgment against the defendants.

Edwards was not represented by an attorney at the time the lawsuit was filed.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana case number 2:15-cv-03223-SM-MBN.

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