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Former Employee Sues Southwest Over Racial Discrimination

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A former Southwest Airlines employee has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the airline, alleging that the carrier allowed its employees to create a "whites-only" breakroom.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court in Houston earlier this week by Jamel Parker, a former employee of Southwest Airlines.

Parker alleges in the lawsuit that Southwest allowed the WB or a "whites-only" break room to operate and subjected black employees, including himself, to "extreme race discrimination."

Parker also claimed that in 2017, other employees hung a noose made of bungee cords at Hobby Airport's gate 45, a Southwest gate controlled by the airline.

"Nooses are an obvious reference to the history of lynching blacks and are hung for the purpose of intimidation and discrimination," according to the lawsuit.

Parker said he became aware of the segregated "white-only" breakroom in August 2013, which continued to operate until 2016 or 2017. The break room continued to be used for several years until it was removed as part of a recent renovation that turned the room into a supervisory office.

Parker alleges that Southwest and his supervisor were aware of the White breakroom's existence, but failed to have it removed.

Parker also said he was fired by Southwest in April 2017 after failing to report damage to a vehicle he was operating.

He alleges that the airline did not terminate two white employees who had similarly damaged vehicles. Instead, the two white employees only received notices.

In response to the lawsuit, Southwest Airlines said in a statement, "We work relentlessly to foster an environment that is diverse and inclusive. We do not tolerate or condone discrimination of any kind, and we cultivate a workplace that mirrors the Customers we serve."

"Southwest Airlines is an Equal Opportunity Employer and prides itself on an open and inclusive work environment that consistently ranks among the world's best places to work," the airline added.

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