Evansville Denies Discrimination Allegations
The Town of Evansville denies it racially discriminated against a former employee and wants the federal court to dismiss his lawsuit, according to court records.
Roy Mestas is seeking compensatory and punitive damages after his supervisor and the town fired him allegedly because of his Hispanic background and a work-related in injury, according to the complaint filed by his attorney Megan Hayes in January.
But Evansville disputed that and other claims by Mestas in its response filed by its attorney Thomas Thompson in U.S. District Court on Friday.
"The Defendants assert that no act or omission of the Defendants was malicious, willful, wanton, reckless or grossly negligent and, therefore, any award of punitive damages is barred," the response said.
His supervisor did terminate him on April 17, 2013, but not for any stated reasons because he was an at-will employee. In Wyoming, an at-will employee can be fired for any reason or no reason, according to the response.
Evansville is legally immune from such lawsuits, and Mestas did not comply with the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act because he did not file a claim properly or in the appropriate time frame, according to the response.
The town also disputed Mestas' allegations that he was subjected to national origin-based harassment and intimidation, and discrimination on the basis of a disability.
After he returned to work after an injury in January 2013, Mestas said he was subjected to harsh and condescending treatment more frequently and more severely than other employees. His supervisor expected him to complete tasks without the assistance of co-workers, and told co-workers not to help him.
Mestas said his supervisor referred to him and others with Hispanic backgrounds as “‘stupid beaners,'” and told jokes about minorities.
The town denied those allegations, too.