PHILADELPHIA — A former conductor is suing Norfolk Southern Railway Company, alleging wrongful termination and discrimination.
Arthur Johnson of Philadelphia filed a lawsuit Feb. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Norfolk Southern Railway Company, alleging discrimination, violation of Title VII and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), and failure to accommodate.
According to the complaint, Johnson worked as a conductor by Norfolk Southern until his termination Jan. 6, 2015. The plaintiff says he is an African-American Muslim who actively practices his Muslim faith, and on Jan. 3, 2015, Johnson was on call and received a phone call from the crew dispatcher at Norfolk Southern, but he was unable to answer due to prayer.
The plaintiff alleges this was the first time he missed a call during his employment.
That same day, Johnson missed another call due to prayer, the suit states, and he informed his superiors that his prayers usually take 15 minutes and that he would call back immediately after if he missed a call.
On Jan. 5, 2015, the lawsuit states, Johnson was called to a job as a brakeman but was informed there was a mistake and he should return. The suit says he was terminated that same day, despite the agreement that discipline only be required after three missed calls. The plaintiff alleges he was fired on the basis of religious discrimination.
Johnson seeks damages for back pay and benefits, front pay, seniority, compensatory damages, punitive damages, expert witness fees, attorney fees, costs and a trial by jury. He is represented by attorney Gregory G. Paul of Morgan & Paul PLLC in Sewickley.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case number 2:16-cv-00726-AB