Welder sues Cooper B-Line claiming racial discrimination

By Andrea Dearden | Apr 23, 2013

A former employee of a Madison County electronics support company says he was discriminated against and ultimately fired because of his race.

Adrian Harris filed a lawsuit April 1 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Cooper B-Line Inc., Machinists No. 9 and Wayne Henze.

According to the complaint, Harris, an African-American man, worked in Cooper B-Line's Troy facility as a welder beginning in April 2011. Harris claims his supervisor held him to a higher standard than his white co-workers doing the same job. He says he received several written warnings for minor mistakes while those coworkers did not.

In October 2012 Harris says he was falsely accused of threatening a fellow employee and waving a gun in the company's parking lot. Harris alleges Cooper B-Line fired him without conducting a fair investigation into the accusation. He claims he was then escorted from the property by Troy police officers. A company representative allegedly posted a picture of Harris warning employees that he was not to return to the facility.

Harris says he was treated poorly by his former employer because of his race. He accuses the company and his union of violating Illinois' Human Rights Act. Harris is suing his supervisor, Henze, for interfering with his ability to further his career as a welder.

Harris wants his job back at Cooper B-Line and asks for more than $250,000 in damages for loss of income, back-pay and court fees.

Attorney John H. Leskera of Collinsville represents Harris.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 13-L-166

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