Friedman & Houlding LLP represents Weldon Moore an African American truck driver who worked at EXCEL USA in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Moore claims, among other things, that he was subjected to a retaliatory termination for filing the racial discrimination claims against EXCEL in federal court. Vice President of Operations over the Lake Charles division of EXCEL, Shaun Dunn, admitted in sworn testimony that days after EXCEL was served with the Summons and Complaint filed in court, he called Mr. Moore and advised, “don’t return to work until you hear back.”
Mr. Moore did not hear back from EXCEL for a full month, and did so only after he filed an Amended Complaint in Court alleging retaliatory termination. Upon filing the Amended Complaint, Mr. Moore received a text message from Dunn stating that Mr. Moore would be suspended for three weeks. Dunn testified that he alone made the decision to suspend Mr. Moore for three weeks, and that the “main” cause for suspension was Mr. Moore’s use of Louisiana Pigment’s equipment without prior authorization, a claim that is not supported in the record. Indeed, Dunn admits that no one from Louisiana Pigment complained about or commenced investigation into Mr. Moore’s use of Louisiana Pigment’s equipment. Dunn testified that the reason for allowing a month to pass before notifying Mr. Moore of the suspension was that he sought Louisiana Pigment’s approval for Mr. Moore to return to the job site and spoke with Louisiana Pigment manager Chris Jennings for such approval. However, Chris Jennings testified that no such conversation took place. Former EXCEL Safety Manager Doug Stephson testified that he had never heard of an EXCEL employee being suspended—let alone, suspended for three weeks—for unauthorized use of Louisiana Pigment equipment.
The testimony to date points to EXCEL’s pretext for its termination of Mr. Moore in retaliation for Mr. Moore’s protected activity of filing claims of racial discrimination against EXCEL. Deposition testimony from several witnesses, both former employees of EXCEL and other non-EXCEL employed witnesses corroborate Mr. Moore’s claims of regularly recurring racial harassment by Mr. Moore’s former supervisor at the Louisiana Pigment facility in Lake Charles, Jeff Addison. Addison resigned from EXCEL after Mr. Moore made several complaints to management and Human Resources concerning his racial harassment, but was never the subject of an investigation by EXCEL. Addison himself admitted in sworn testimony that the term “Black mother****er”—a term Mr. Moore was regularly subjected to while employed at EXCEL—was in use at the EXCEL project site at Louisiana Pigment, as were racist jokes. Witnesses testified that Addison regularly referred to Mr. Moore as “Black mother****er” at the job site.
Trial is scheduled to take place beginning September 11, 2023, in the Middle District of Louisiana.