Woman sues Speedy Stop over discrimination claims
April 13, 2011 at 4:05 p.m.
Updated April 12, 2011 at 11:13 p.m.
A Port Lavaca woman claims she was wrongfully fired from Speedy Stop partly because she is Caucasian and elderly.
The plaintiff, Randy Ann McCaskill, filed the lawsuit against Speedy Stop Food Stores, which is part of the C.L. Thomas corporation, in federal court earlier this month.
The company's attorney disagrees with the allegations.
In September 2010, McCaskill said Dan Guartuche, her Speedy Stop district manager, told her that she was being fired from her position as a cashier at Speedy Stop Store No. 12, 2207 N. state Highway 35 in Port Lavaca, because she committed several infractions, including being hostile toward her assistant manager, Anna Corando.
However, McCaskill, who had been working at Speedy Stop since September 2009, claims she was really fired because of race and age discrimination and out of retaliation.
Calls made to McCaskill were not returned as of Wednesday afternoon.
The 62-year-old plaintiff, who identified herself as a non-Hispanic Caucasian on her U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Intake Questionnaire form, said she had experienced verbal abuse from Corando both in front of and away from customers for months, none of which was handled by the district manager.
Over time, she claimed her work environment became progressively more hostile.
In addition to not being let off for vacation time, the plaintiff said she was also forced to repeatedly work the graveyard shift without receiving the differential pay, according to her EEOC complaint form.
"I was the one that they had climb the ladder. I had to clean the car wash with a pressure washer, reset the car wash, reset the compressor, clean the runaway and carry all the heavy soap, wax, and chemicals out to the car wash to fill it up," McCaskill claimed in her complaint form. "I always changed the gas prices with the long pole in the cold, rain and heat."
Additionally, McCaskill said she was reprimanded for using her cell phone to remind her to lubricate her eyes following her cataracts surgery.
"To the best of my knowledge and belief, non-white and/or younger employees have committed similar or more serious infractions with impunity," McCaskill wrote in her complaint form.
The situation between the plaintiff and Speedy Stop management came to a head when police were called to the store by customers to help diffuse an argument between McCaskill and Corando.
Five days later, the plaintiff was fired.
The EEOC investigated McCaskill's complaints and was unable to conclude that the information obtained established violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race/national origin, or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which protects against discrimination based on age.
However, the EEOC did inform McCaskill of her right to sue on the charges.
McCaskill is seeking financial relief stemming from when she tripped over a cat outside of her store in August.
The plaintiff claims after tripping over the cat, which she said the store managers had been feeding, she was left with knee and back injuries; a worker's comp claim of $957; two days worth of sick pay, which she was not allowed to use to recuperate from her injuries; and a $1,500 deductible on her medical insurance, which she can no longer use because she is no longer employed with the company, according to court documents.
Additionally, she is seeking her one-week vacation salary and salary replacement for one year.
Bill Russell, one of the defendant's attorney's spoke on behalf of his client.
"It is not at all about anybody being abusive to the plaintiff, but actually the reverse," said Russell, who reviewed the store audio from the day the police were called to the store. "There's nothing abusive by the assistant store manager. She was attempting to calm the situation."
He continued, "The decision (Pete Alexander) made is you can't have a person like Randy Ann McCaskill doing these things to other employees, especially in the presence of customers."
Alexander is the retail human resources manager for C.L. Thomas.
In regards to McCaskill's request for damages related to her fall, Russell said the cat did not belong to Speedy Stop, and McCaskill was on a smoke break at the time of the fall and not actually on the job.
Additionally, Russell said his client has not found any evidence of discrimination toward McCaskill.