Weavexx, LLC was sued on January 17, 2014 by Leonard Evans, Jr., a former African-American employee at its manufacturing facility in Starkville, Mississippi.
According to the complaint:
Plaintiff [Evans] began working for Defendant [Weavexx] on December 22, 1989. In 2012, Plaintiff was a shift supervisor for Defendant.
On November 13, 2012, Plaintiff was informed by Keith Stegall, Defendant’s Production Manager, that he was discharged for endangering the health and safety of company personnel.
Defendant alleged that Plaintiff failed in the capacity of a supervisor by endangering the health and safety of company personnel in failing to follow required lockout/tagout procedures on the loom.
The incident referred to by Stegall involved a white male, Roy Smith. Smith, a maintenance person, failed to follow required lockout/tagout procedures on the loom. In actuality, Smith climbed underneath the loom during a break in order to take a nap.
Although Smith had been trained on the lockout/tagout procedures, Plaintiff had not been trained on said procedures. However, Smith was not discharged for the incident; rather, he was suspended one week with pay and one week without pay.
After Plaintiff’s discharge, the Defendant implemented new lockout/tagout procedures for employees working on the back of the loom.
Although Plaintiff was terminated for allegedly endangering the health and safety of company personnel, other supervisors who were not African American were not discharged for more serious incidents of endangering the health and safety of company personnel.
For example, Tommy Coleman, a white male electrician, had a finger cut off in a loom while he was working under the supervision of James Gaddy, a white male Maintenance Manager, and Larry Hale, a white male Weave Manager. Neither were disciplined or discharged even though they did not follow the Defendant’s required lockout/tagout procedures on the loom.
As it regards Smith’s failure to follow required lockout/tagout procedures on the loom, he was not injured in any way. No one was injured in any way in connection with Smith’s incident.
Defendant disciplined its African-American employees more frequently and/or more severely than its Caucasian employees. Plaintiff’s termination, allegedly for endangering company personnel, is pre-text for illegal discrimination on the basis of race. Defendant failed to have an effective policy against discrimination, in that Defendant failed to adequately investigate the circumstances and instead, treated Plaintiff differently than Caucasian supervisors.