Humana Accused of Racial Discrimination by Former Employee

A lawsuit filed by a former employee was removed by defendant Humana Insurance Company to the Southern District of Texas. The complaint, first filed in Harris County state court, alleges that the defendant violated Texas law when they fired her based on her race.

The plaintiff, Lajamieka Mims, an African American woman, worked for the defendant as a UM Administration Coordinator, the complaint said. She began her employment in late 2018. For the first two and a half years of her employment, she worked under a supervisor named Felisa Muzquiz, who reportedly “never had issues with Ms. Mims’ work performance and Ms. Mims was never written up under her supervision.” The plaintiff explains that in 2020, she even met all the criteria necessary to receive a bonus.

The plaintiff was fired just two weeks after a new supervisor took over. The defendant cited that the reasons for her termination were “that she mentioned to a client that she may have to place her back in the queue, and it seemed like she was passing on her work and did not want to help clients because she would send callers to the benefits department if they were seeking a Member ID.” The plaintiff argued that the actions that had been cited as reasons for termination were things that she had been previously instructed to do by her prior supervisor.

Per the complaint, a client had called while the plaintiff was working and requested updates on 50 patients. Due to the volume of the request, Mims informed the client that she may have to place her back in the call queue after helping her for a bit given that there were other calls on hold. Despite this statement she made, she “proceeded to help with all the clients’ request and did not place her back into the queue.” Nonetheless, she was written up for her mention of potentially placing the call back in the queue.

The plaintiff later discovered that another employee who was not African American also spoke to the client and placed her back in the queue after only assisting her with five updates. However, this employee “did not receive repercussions for his actions.” Other non-African American employees also noted that they did not receive repercussions for queue replacement regarding the client’s calls, calls which they specified took a while.

Mims “felt that by placing her in coaching for merely mentioning that she may have to place her in the queue and not reprimanding any of the Hispanic employees who did place [the client] in the queue, Martina was targeting her due to her race.” Mims was fired a week after she expressed this sentiment to a supervisor.

Ultimately, Mims contends that the misconduct caused her suffer “loss of income; humiliation and embarrassment among co-workers and others; sustained damage to the Plaintiff’s credibility and broken career trajectory.”

The complaint cites that the defendant’s actions constitute violations of the Texas Labor Code and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act. Mims is seeking a trial by jury, attorney’s fees, favorable judgment, actual, general, compensatory, and punitive damages, backpay, reinstatement, pre- and post-judgment interest, and any other relief that the court deems Mims entitled to.

The plaintiff is represented by Kennard Law, P.C., while the defendant is represented by Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart.