Black employee sues Sunoco Inc. over demotion allegedly tied to discrimination complaint

By Jon Campisi | Dec 17, 2013

A black Sunoco worker has filed a federal discrimination claim against his

employer claiming that he was retaliated against for filing a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

George Guy, III, who resides in Norristown, Montgomery County, is suing Sunoco Inc., which does business as Philadelphia Energy Solutions, over allegations that he was denied a raise and suffered a loss of job opportunity and income because he complained to the PHRC that he was demoted because of his race.

The plaintiff, who began working for Sunoco back in 1975, applied for a promotion from his position as project manager in 2008.

While he believed he was qualified for the promotion, Guy was denied the opportunity to move up, a decision the plaintiff blames on race discrimination.

It was at that point that Guy went to Sunoco’s Internal Compliance Department, complaining that he and at least five other employees were subjected to unfavorable treatment and denied promotions because of their race.

Guy was soon retroactively promoted one grade, given a new title and reimbursed monies that he might have been paid had he been promoted earlier, the lawsuit states, but in December 2010, the plaintiff was demoted from project manager to contract administrator.

Guy claims that James Demes a supervising maintenance manager for Sunoco, and a co-defendant in the litigation, demoted him in retaliation for the plaintiff having filed the internal complaint regarding mistreatment.

The plaintiff then filed his PHRC complaint in early February 2011, the record shows.

Demes who was allegedly aware of the complaint, conducted the plaintiff’s performance evaluation the following month.

“The performance evaluation Defendant Demes wrote was extremely negative and did not reflect the actual level of the Plaintiff’s work performance, which was excellent,” the lawsuit states. “The Plaintiff believes, and therefore avers, that Defendant Demes gave the Plaintiff an extremely negative work performance evaluation, partly because the Plaintiff was black, but primarily in retaliation for the Plaintiff’s having filed a Complaint with the PHRC in January, 2011.”

Guy says he was denied a pay increase, suffered the loss of a promotional opportunity, sustained a loss of professional job status, and experienced embarrassment and humiliation as a result of the defendants’ actions.

The complaint contains federal civil rights claims as well as a state law claim of discrimination.

Guy seeks more than $150,000 in compensatory damages, plus attorneys’ fees.

He is being represented by lawyers Isaac H. Green and Adrian J. Moody.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-07308-MMB.

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