Former Southwest Airlines employee sues over alleged 'whites-only' break room

Former Southwest Airlines employee sues over alleged 'whites-only' break room

HOUSTON (KTRK/CNN) – A former employee of Southwest Airlines is suing the company over claims of racial discrimination.

Jamel Parker, the former employee, said workers created a "whites-only" break room at Houston's Hobby Airport that existed for years up until recent renovations.

Parker also said there was a noose made of bungee cords hanging at a Southwest gate at the airport.

In the lawsuit, he accuses the airline of subjecting black employees to "extreme race discrimination" and harsher disciplinary actions than white workers.

Parker said he was fired for damaging a power cord and failing to report it, but that white employees did similar things and were not fired.

"Honestly, I'm not surprised, given my initial introduction into this Houston market," Parker said. "I was literally warned about this type of thing, so I'm not surprised at all."

Southwest Airlines released a statement, saying, in part: "We do not tolerate or condone discrimination of any kind, and we cultivate a workplace that mirrors the customers we serve."

Parker's lawsuit doesn't say how much he's seeking from Southwest, but it does say he's seeking a jury trial.

A pre-trial court date has been set for January.

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