A civil lawsuit against Wackenhut Services Inc. at the Savannah River Site claiming discrimination should proceed to trial, a U.S. magistrate judge recommended in federal court documents last week.
Judge Paige Gossett recommended granting in part and denying in part motions for summary judgement in the case of Marvin Timothy Oerman, who filed a lawsuit in 2010 claiming he was demoted by former employer WSI because he is white.
The judge’s July 17 recommendation said the lawsuit should proceed on a race discrimination claim, but not on a sex discrimination claim.
“It is our understanding that the magistrate issued recommendations partly in our favor and partly against us,” said WSI spokesperson Rob Davis. “If the recommendations are upheld, the case will proceed to trial on one of Mr. Oerman’s claims.”
Davis said that WSI continues to deny any discriminatory actions against Oerman.
Oerman, who is no longer employed at WSI, worked for the contractor for more than 25 years, and claims that he was demoted while a less experienced black male was selected for the position of manager of WSI’s training operations department.
The complaint states Oerman later learned that another manager planned to leave the department, and that Randy Garver, general manager of WSI-SRS, did not post the position before choosing another black male with less experience.
Oerman filed a second lawsuit in 2011 against WSI claiming retaliation once it became known that he had filed the initial lawsuit. He claimed WSI selected individuals on the basis of race and gender and has “instituted an ad hoc racial and gender quota system,” according to the complaint.
Court documents state that, according to Garver, “there were continuing performance failures at the barricades for which [Oerman] was responsible,” and as a result, he selected a new manager to oversee perimeter protection and transferred Oerman elsewhere.
“Unfortunately, there were a significant number of employees who lost jobs through downsizing at SRS over the last several years, and this is our only lawsuit related to that downsizing,” Davis said.
Oerman declined to comment Tuesday.
Oerman’s 2011 lawsuit is still pending.
A civil lawsuit represents only one side of a conflict.