A former employee of the Coca-Cola Company on New Boston Road in Texarkana, Texas, claims he was subjected to racial, sexual and religious harassment by fellow employees, in a lawsuit filed in federal court last week.
Christopher Armstrong filed suit in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas with the help of Dallas lawyer Christing Neill. The complaint alleges Armstrong was repeatedly subjected to slurs by co-workers who were members of his work crew. The suit specifically identifies five men who allegedly verbally harassed Armstrong during 2014 and 2015.
Armstrong alleges he suffered retaliation after complaining about the slurs to Coca-Cola's human resources department and his supervisors. Armstrong alleges he complained to a supervisor in July 2015 and that a co-worker that overheard the conversation immediately began yelling slurs at him.
Armstrong claims he provided a written statement about the incident to human resources which went ignored. The harassment was allegedly so stressful to Armstrong that he had to take medical leave. When he returned, Armstrong alleges further realiation and that his supervisors coached other employees to write up complaints about him.
Armstrong alleges he lost income because he was unable to earn overtime while on medical leave.
"While on disability leave, Armstrong was injured in a car accident which was attributable in substantial part due to excess medication prescribed to him by a psychiatrist treating his medical conditions relating to the discrimination and harassment at Coca Cola," the complaint states. "On or about Sept. 1, 2016, Armstrong was terminated by Coca Cola following the expiration of his available Family Medical Leave Act leave."
Armstrong is seeking a declaratory judgment that the Coca-Cola's employment practices are unlawful. He is asking for a permanent injunction enjoining the company from continuing with the alleged discrimination. Armstrong is seeking front and back pay, retroactive seniority, pension benefits, bonus payments, health benefits, compensatory damages and punitive damages.
The suit also asks that the company be forced to implement a clear and effective grievance process and asks for attorney fees and court costs.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder.