Bellsouth Telecommunications, Inc. – Race Discrimination, Age Discrimination in Employment, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), Florida Commission on Human Relations (“FCHR”)

Bellsouth Telecommunications, Inc. – Race Discrimination, Age Discrimination in Employment, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), Florida Commission on Human Relations (“FCHR”)

Bellsouth Telecommunications caseIN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
IN AND FOR BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA

ERNEST L. MORAGNE and
HENRY L. WOODIE,

Plaintiffs,

vs. CASE NO.

BELLSOUTH TELECOMMUNICATIONS,
INC.,

Defendant.
___________________________/

COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiffs, ERNEST L. MORAGNE and HENRY L. WOODIE, by and through their undersigned counsel, sue Defendant, BELLSOUTH TELECOMMUNICATIONS, INC. (hereinafter called “BellSouth”), and allege as follows:

JURISDICTION AND PARTIES

1. This is an action for damages that exceed $15,000.00, exclusive of costs,

interest, and attorney’s fees.

2. The unlawful employment practices alleged below were committed within

Brevard County, Florida.

3. Plaintiffs are and have been residents of Brevard County, Florida, at all times material herein.

4. Defendant, BellSouth, upon information and belief, is a corporation incorporated under the laws of the State of Georgia. At the time of the acts complained of herein, BellSouth was registered and authorized to do business in the State of Florida and employed fifteen (15) or more persons.

STATEMENT OF CLAIM

GENERAL FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

5. Plaintiff Moragne was hired by BellSouth on or about January 1972. Plaintiff Moragne worked for BellSouth until his termination from the company on or about September 8, 1997. At the time of his termination by BellSouth, Plaintiff Moragne was employed by BellSouth as an Outside Plant Engineer.
6. Plaintiff Moragne is an African American male whose date of birth is October 24, 1940.
7. Plaintiff Woodie was hired by BellSouth on or about July 1980. Plaintiff Moragne worked for BellSouth until his termination from the company on or about October 13, 1997. At the time of his termination by BellSouth, Plaintiff Woodie was employed by BellSouth as an Outside Plant Engineer.
8. Plaintiff Moragne is an African American male whose date of birth is August 29, 1947.
9. On or about July 1997, BellSouth decided to contract, or “outsource” many of its engineering positions, including those in which Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie were placed, to engineering contractors. This meant that BellSouth itself would no longer employ Outside Plant Engineers, but rather would engage outside contractors to perform certain engineering functions for the company.
10. Bellsouth proceeded to “outsource” a number of engineering positions, including all Outside Plant Engineer positions in its Brevard County complex. This “outsource” eliminated the Outside Plant Engineering positions of Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie. Plaintiff Moragne’s last day of employment with Bellsouth was September 8, 1997. Plaintiff Woodie’s last day of employment with Bellsouth was October 13, 1997.
11. Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie were subsequently hired by the series of contractors to whom BellSouth had “outsourced” much of its engineering work. In these positions, Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie performed the same work, on BellSouth’s premises, which they had been performing as BellSouth employees, at a lower rate of pay. Plaintiffs have continued to be employed by these contractors, performing the same duties they had previously performed as BellSouth employees.
12. On or about June 1999, BellSouth began hiring employees for the position of Outside Plant Engineer. Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie submitted applications to BellSouth for employment in this position.
13. On or about July 1, 1999, Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie were sent letters from BellSouth notifying them they were not selected for the Outside Plant Engineer position.
14. BellSouth did not hire Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie for its newly created Outside Plant Engineer positions, but did hire at least fourteen (14) engineers to work in its Brevard County complex, none of whom was African American. Additionally, none of the engineers hired were as experienced or qualified for the positions as either Plaintiff Moragne or Plaintiff Woodie, and only one of the engineers hired by Bellsouth was older than either Plaintiff Moragne or Plaintiff Woodie.
15. On or about January 18, 2000, Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie filed charges of discrimination against BellSouth with both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and Florida Commission on Human Relations (“FCHR”), alleging race and age discrimination (compound Exhibit ’A’ attached hereto).
16. Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie were issued Notices of Right to Sue in regard to their discrimination charges against BellSouth by the EEOC on August 14, 2000 (compound Exhibit ’B’ attached hereto).
17. Plaintiffs have retained the undersigned attorney and agreed to pay him a reasonable fee.
18. Plaintiffs have exhausted their administrative remedies prior to bringing this action.
19. Plaintiffs have complied with all conditions precedent prior to bringing this action.
20. At all times during their employment with BellSouth, Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie performed all duties assigned to them by BellSouth in a professionally competent manner.
21. Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie have suffered and continue to suffer damage to their financial welfare by reason of BellSouth’s discriminatory actions against Plaintiffs.
22. Plaintiffs have suffered severe mental anguish and emotional distress as a result of BellSouth’s actions.

COUNT I

VIOLATION OF SECTION 760.10, FLORIDA STATUTES

STATE RACE DISCRIMINATION CLAIM

23. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 22 of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
24. This action is brought pursuant to Section 760.10, Florida Statutes, the

Florida Civil Rights Act.
25. More than one hundred eighty (180) days have expired since the filing of Plaintiffs’ FCHR charges of discrimination and the FCHR has not entered a determination on Plaintiffs’ claims.
26. The actions of BellSouth as alleged in paragraphs 5 through 14, supra, constitute discrimination against Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie by BellSouth based upon their race. By discriminating in such fashion against the Plaintiffs, BellSouth violated Section 760.10, Florida Statutes, which makes it unlawful “to discharge or to fail or refuse to hire any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race.”
27. The conduct of BellSouth as complained of herein was willful, malicious, oppressive, wanton and in complete disregard of the rights of the Plaintiffs.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for:
A. Judgment for their back pay, including all sums of money Plaintiffs would have earned, reduced by any amounts they received from subsequent employment, had they not been discriminatorily discharged;
B. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries;
C. Reinstatement, or front pay in lieu thereof;
D. Punitive damages;
E. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein;
F. Such other damages and relief as may be just and proper.

COUNT II

VIOLATION OF TITLE VII

FEDERAL RACE DISCRIMINATION CLAIM

28. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate paragraphs 1 through 22 of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
29. This is an action for violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e-2.
30. The actions of BellSouth as alleged in paragraphs 5 through 14, supra, constitute discrimination against Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie by BellSouth based upon their race. By discriminating in such fashion against the Plaintiffs, BellSouth violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Section 2000e-2, which makes it unlawful for an employer “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race [or] color .”
31. By discriminating against the Plaintiffs based upon their race, BellSouth engaged in a discriminatory practice with malice and reckless indifference to the statutorily protected rights of Plaintiffs.
32. Proximately and directly as a result of BellSouth discriminating against Plaintiffs on account of their race, Plaintiffs have suffered damages consisting of mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of salary and other compensation.
33. The conduct of BellSouth complained of herein was willful, malicious, oppressive, wanton and in complete disregard of the rights of Plaintiffs.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for:
A. Judgment for their back pay, including all sums of money Plaintiffs would have earned, reduced by any amounts they received from subsequent employment, had they not been discriminatorily discharged;
B. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries;
C. Reinstatement, or front pay in lieu thereof;
D. Punitive damages;
E. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein;
F. Such other damages and relief as may be just and proper.

COUNT III

VIOLATION OF 42 U.S.C. SECTION 1981

FEDERAL RACE DISCRIMINATION CLAIM

34. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate paragraphs 1 through 22 of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
35. This is an action for violation of 42 U.S.C. Section 1981.
36. The actions of BellSouth as alleged in paragraphs 5 through 14, supra, constitute discrimination against Plaintiffs Moragne and Woodie by BellSouth based upon their race. By discriminating in such fashion against the Plaintiffs, BellSouth violated 42 U.S.C. Section 1981, which makes it unlawful for an employer to deprive any person within the jurisdiction of the United States of the right “to make and enforce contracts” and also makes it unlawful for an employer to deprive any person within the jurisdiction of the United States “of the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white persons.”
37. By discriminating against the Plaintiffs based upon their race, BellSouth engaged in a discriminatory practice with malice and reckless indifference to the statutorily protected rights of Plaintiffs.
38. Proximately and directly as a result of BellSouth discriminating against Plaintiffs on account of their race, Plaintiffs have suffered damages consisting of mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of salary and other compensation.
39. The conduct of BellSouth complained of herein was willful, malicious, oppressive, wanton and in complete disregard of the rights of Plaintiffs.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for:
A. Judgment for their back pay, including all sums of money Plaintiffs would have earned, reduced by any amounts they received from subsequent employment, had they not been discriminatorily discharged;
B. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries;
C. Reinstatement, or front pay in lieu thereof;
D. Punitive damages;
E. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein;
G. Such other damages and relief as may be just and proper.

COUNT IV

VIOLATION OF SECTION 760.10, FLORIDA STATUTES

STATE AGE DISCRIMINATION CLAIM

40. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate paragraphs 1 through 22 and 25 of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
41. This action is brought pursuant to Section 760.10, Florida Statutes, the

Florida Civil Rights Act.
42. The actions of BellSouth as alleged in paragraphs 5 through 14, supra, constitute discrimination against Plaintiffs by BellSouth on the basis of their ages. By discriminating in such fashion against the Plaintiffs, BellSouth violated Section 760.10, Florida Statutes, which makes it unlawful “to discharge or to fail or refuse to hire any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age .”
43. The conduct of BellSouth as complained of herein was willful, malicious, oppressive, wanton and in complete disregard of the rights of the Plaintiffs.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for:
A. Judgment for their back pay, including all sums of money Plaintiffs would have earned, reduced by any amounts they received from subsequent employment, had they not been discriminatorily discharged;
B. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries;
C. Reinstatement, or front pay in lieu thereof;
D. Punitive damages;
E. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein;
F. Such other damages and relief as may be just and proper.

COUNT V

VIOLATION OF THE AGE DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT ACT

FEDERAL AGE DISCRIMINATION CLAIM

44. This is an action for violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. Section 621et seq.
45. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate paragraphs 1 through 22 of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
46. The actions of BellSouth as alleged in paragraphs 5 through 14, supra, constitute discrimination against Plaintiffs by BellSouth. By discriminating in such fashion against the Plaintiffs, BellSouth violated the Age Discrimination In Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. Section 621 et seq., which makes it unlawful for an employer “to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age.”
47. The conduct of BellSouth as complained of herein was willful, malicious, oppressive, wanton and in complete disregard of the rights of the Plaintiffs.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for:
A. Judgment for their back pay, including all sums of money Plaintiffs would have earned, lessened by any amounts they received from subsequent employment, had they not been discriminatorily discharged;
B. Reinstatement, or front pay in lieu thereof;
C. Liquidated damages;
D. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein;
E. Such other damages and relief as may be just and proper.

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiffs demand a jury trial on all issues herein triable by jury.

DATED this _____day of October, 2000.

Wayne L. Allen, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 110025
Adrienne E. Trent, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 0060119
WAYNE L. ALLEN & ASSOCIATES, P.A.
Attorneys for Plaintiffs
700 N. Wickham Road
Suite 107
Melbourne, Florida 32935
Phone: (321) 254-7550
Fax: (321) 242-1681

Attorney: Maurice Arcadier
Status: Closed
Date Filed: 10/04/2000

Our Melbourne office is centrally located in Brevard County, enabling our lawyers to serve clients throughout “the Space Coast”, including Cocoa Beach, Palm Bay and Vero Beach.