Former Southwest Airlines Worker Claims He Was Fired Over Race

Barbara Schwarz
September 21, 2018 - 9:02 am
Southwest Airline

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DALLAS (KRLD) - Jamel Parker worked as a baggage handler at Houston's Hobby airport. He was fired last year for causing damage to a power cord that led to a gate ramp.

His attorney Julie St. John says "Through the course of representing Mr. Parker, we've pointed to two similarly situated white employees who did very similar acts and were not terminated, and the reason being is because of their race."

The suit also claims there was a "White's only" breakroom. St. John says "it's existence was known to everyone. He was told about it by multiple people. He was told that white's only used that breakroom and it was referred to as the WB, and that black employees were not welcome in there"

St. John says the breakroom was removed recently as part of a renovation of the area

St. John also says black workers found a noose made of bungee cords at an airplane gate last year.

Parker first worked for AirTran in September of 2008 and became a Southwest Airlines employee in 2013 after the airlines merged. The suit says he learned about the whites-only breakroom in 2013.

The lawsuit asks for the maximum amount of damages available under the law. She says Parker also wants his job back, because it was a good union job complete with good benefits and good pay.

In an email, Southwest says "We wouldn't be able to offer comment on matters relating to litigation, but we welcome the opportunity to emphasize that Southwest is and always has been a Company that puts its People first. We work relentlessly to foster an environment that is diverse and inclusive. We do not tolerate or condone discrimination of any kind, and we cultivate a workplace that mirrors the Customers we serve.

Southwest Airlines is an Equal Opportunity Employer and prides itself on an open and inclusive work environment that consistently ranks among the world's best places to work. We employ more than 57,000 People who provide the world's best hospitality to our more than 120 million annual Customers as they travel throughout the Southwest network. Our People are our greatest asset, and it is our goal to support our Employees and our Customers who come from all walks of life."