Man says he was fired because of his ancestry

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County man has filed a suit against his former employer, claiming he was fired because of his ancestry.

Luis Jackson filed the suit May 1 in Kanawha Circuit Court, against Mineral Labs and Larry McNeely.

According to the suit, Jackson started working at Mineral Labs on Feb. 18, 2003. The suit says Jackson, who is of Mexican ancestry, was often mistaken as being of African-American descent.

Jackson claims McNeely believed Jackson was African-American and made several derogatory comments about his believed ancestry. The suit says McNeely also created abusive working condition for Jackson, including greasing the door handles to his office and coloring in his safety glasses.

Jackson also claims McNeely took his safety equipment from his work area, leaving Jackson to work without the proper safety equipment.

According to the suit, Jackson spoke to the corporate office in the summer of 2006, regarding McNeely's comments and actions.

Jackson claims McNeely's discriminatory and retaliatory actions increased after he spoke with corporate, and he would write Jackson up for "even the smallest perceived indiscretion," the suit says.

According to the suit, on Feb. 15, 2008, Jackson was told he was "doing a good job" and would be needed to train some new hires. However, Feb. 20, Jackson was terminated.

Jackson claims the purported reason for his termination was that he allegedly did not clean a pulverizer prior to running a sample, but Jackson claims it was because of his ancestry and because he reported McNeely's actions to the corporate office.

In the five-count suit, Jackson seeks back pay and front pay, plus benefits, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

Attorney Mark L. French is representing Jackson. The case has been assigned to Judge Charles King.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 08-C-847

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