An East Texas company must pay black workers more than $3 million in back pay as damages in a class action lawsuit charging racial discrimination, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Ron Clark said Lufkin Industries Inc. must pay the workers $3.1 million as well as 5 percent interest to compensate them for acts of discrimination dating to 1994.
A bench trial in 2005 found that the company unlawfully made initial assignment and promotion decisions that discriminated against black workers.
“Lufkin Industries has been profiting for years from its policy of unlawful discrimination,” wrote Clark, who succeeded Cobb on the bench in the Eastern District of Texas. “At the same time, as Judge Cobb found, Lufkin’s CEO was indulged with a corporate jet and pilot and in 2002 a paycheck three times that of the president of the United States.”
The publicly traded company sells and services oil field pumping units, foundry castings and power transmission products. In April, it announced that its profit had declined 43 percent in the first quarter and that it would eliminate about 10 percent of its work force. At the end of 2008, it had about 3,000 employees.
The class action suit, which lists 13 named plaintiffs, was filed in 1997. Clark’s order, followed a directive from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals asking that the district court craft a more specific remedial order.
Tim Garrigan, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the amount of pay due the workers should, with interest, come to about $5 million. But because it only addresses the pay differentials in certain documented cases, “the problem is really much bigger,” he said.
Cobb’s final judgment in 2005 noted that the company’s managers and supervisors gave whites preferential treatment and that “the pattern of African American shortfalls in promotions is consistent across the years.”
If you or a family member has been subjected to wrongful termination or employment discrimination, then please contact the Fort Worth Texas Racial Discrimination Attorney Dr. Shezad Malik. For a no obligation, free case analysis, please call 817-255-4001 or Contact Me Online.