Robbie Hargett Oct. 21, 2015, 1:25pm


A Northumberland County man is suing his former employer over claims of race discrimination.

Jerald E. Byas filed a complaint Sept. 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against Gemma Power Systems, alleging race discrimination and wrongful termination.

The complaint states that Gemma hired Byas, an African-American male, as a journeyman electrician at its Montgomery, Pa. location on Feb. 3, 2014, earning a pay rate of $22 per hour.

After beginning his employment with Gemma, Byas discovered white journeyman electricians at the company were paid $24 per hour.

Byas requested to his supervisor that he should be paid the same as the white journeyman electricians, but the complaint alleges Byas was refused, though his pay was eventually raised to $24 per hour before his termination.

On Aug. 11, 2014, Byas was terminated for allegedly violating a safety procedure when he unfastened a safety harness to move to the other side of a platform, but Byas claims non-African-American employees routinely performed this action and were not terminated, the complaint states.

Byas seeks compensation and reimbursement, actual and pecuniary damages, attorney fees, and costs of the suit. He is represented by Larry A. Weisberg and Derrek W. Cummings of McCarthy Weisberg Cummings in Harrisburg.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania case number 4:15-cv-01885-MWB

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