Fired Union Pacific worker claims race was issue

Kelly Holleran Aug. 16, 2011, 5:36am

A black man claims he lost his job because of his race.

Tywansley S. Lashley filed a lawsuit July 25 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Union Pacific Railroad/Alton and Southern Railway Company and Mike McCarthy.

In his complaint, Lashley alleges he worked for the railroad for five years before he sustained back injuries on Jan. 25, 2010. The same day, the railroad began an investigation into Lashley's alleged drug and alcohol use after Lashley's supervisor accused him of taking Vicodin, according to the complaint.

Lashley agreed to take a drug test and tested negative for drug use, the suit states.

Still, Lashley was suspended without pay while the railroad conducted an investigation, the complaint says. In April 2010, Lashley claims he was terminated for alleged violations of the company's drug policy.

"The decision to terminate was based on Plaintiff's race, and was in retaliation for complaining about the discrimination," the suit states.

In fact, one of Lashley's coworkers admitted to taking Vicodin, but was not suspended from his job or fired, according to the complaint.

Because of his termination, Lashley incurred economic loss, suffered extreme emotional distress, damage to his reputation and incurred shame, humiliation, pain, suffering and inconvenience, the complaint says.

In his complaint, Lashley seeks a declaratory judgment declaring that the railroad violated Lashley's right to be free from discrimination and enter an injunction ordering the railroad to pay Lashley back pay. In addition, he seeks compensatory damages, economic damages, exemplary damages and punitive damages, plus attorney's fees, interest at the highest rate allowed by law and other relief the court deems just.

Lashley will be representing himself.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-417.

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Union Pacific
1400 Douglas St
Omaha, NE 68179

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