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Kenyan man in USA sues company for retaliation and discrimination based upon national origin.

“Operations manager identified as Brian Hoffman who is white, singled out and targeted the plaintiff because of his national origin, telling Mwangangi that the company didn’t want people with foreign accents talking to Lilly directors.”

Kenexa Technology Inc. -www.kenexa.com/

Kenexa Technology Inc.:www.kenexa.com

An international company specializing in human resources consulting and technology

services that has its U.S. headquarters in suburban Philadelphia is facing allegations by a former employee that it violated the Fair Labor Standards Act for failing to properly compensate the man for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.

The plaintiff, Daudi M. Mwangangi, also claims his June 2012 firing was retaliatory in nature.

Mwangangi, a native of the African country of Kenya who resides in Carmel, Ind., first began his employment with Wayne, Pa.-based Kenexa Technology Inc. in November 2011, the record shows.

The Indiana man had been assigned to work at a client of the defendant’s, Eli Lilly and Company, which is located in Indianapolis.

The plaintiff also worked remotely from his home in Carmel on the weekends, the suit states.

According to the complaint, which was filed on Aug. 13 at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia by Montgomery County employment attorney Andrew S. Abramson, Mwangangi, who earned $75,000 annually, experienced disparaging treatment at the hands of an operations manager identified as Brian Hoffman.

Hoffman, who is white, singled out and targeted the plaintiff because of his national origin, telling Mwangangi that the company didn’t want people with foreign accents talking to Lilly directors.

Hoffman, who was based out of the defendant’s North Carolina office, traveled to Lilly’s Indiana location in the spring of 2012 to advise a Lilly employee that the plaintiff should not be on their team because of his accent and because Mwangangi was not “polished enough,” the lawsuit states.

Andrew S. Abramson

Andrew S. Abramson

services that has its U.S. headquarters in suburban Philadelphia is facing allegations by a former employee that it violated the Fair Labor Standards Act for failing to properly compensate the man for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.

The plaintiff, Daudi M. Mwangangi, also claims his June 2012 firing was retaliatory in nature.

Mwangangi, a native of the African country of Kenya who resides in Carmel, Ind., first began his employment with Wayne, Pa.-based Kenexa Technology Inc. in November 2011, the record shows.

The Indiana man had been assigned to work at a client of the defendant’s, Eli Lilly and Company, which is located in Indianapolis.

The plaintiff also worked remotely from his home in Carmel on the weekends, the suit states.

According to the complaint, which was filed on Aug. 13 at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia by Montgomery County employment attorney Andrew S. Abramson, Mwangangi, who earned $75,000 annually, experienced disparaging treatment at the hands of an operations manager identified as Brian Hoffman.

Hoffman, who is white, singled out and targeted the plaintiff because of his national origin, telling Mwangangi that the company didn’t want people with foreign accents talking to Lilly directors.

Hoffman, who was based out of the defendant’s North Carolina office, traveled to Lilly’s Indiana location in the spring of 2012 to advise a Lilly employee that the plaintiff should not be on their team because of his accent and because Mwangangi was not “polished enough,” the lawsuit states.

The plaintiff soon complained about Hoffman’s comments and treatment to Kenexa’s director of client relations, Stefan Lint, who is based in Wayne, although Hoffman’s treatment allegedly continued.

The lawsuit states that in April 2012, Lint told Mwangangi that Lilly valued his performance and contributions and had no problem with the plaintiff, but Lint was concerned that the plaintiff wouldn’t advance in the company and was not promotable because he “was not polished,” a judgment that the suit claims was formed due to Mwangangi’s Kenyan accent.

Lint also told Mwangangi that the plaintiff’s hiring was a big mistake for Kenexa and Lilly, the suit claims.

Mwangangi lodged a formal discrimination complaint with Kenexa’s human resources department in May 2012, the record shows, but no action was ever taken by company officials.

The plaintiff was terminated on June 5, 2012, allegedly due to the fact that he was insubordinate.

A white male was tapped to replace Mwangangi.

After Kenexa terminated the plaintiff’s assignment with Lilly, the complaint says, the defendant failed to offer Mwangangi any positions working at any other Kenexa client even though the plaintiff was qualified.

“Defendant Kenexa’s actions have been outrageous in that its retaliatory motives and conduct as set forth above are malicious, wanton, reckless, willful and oppressive,” the lawsuit reads.

Mwangangi has allegedly sustained financial damages due to lost wages and benefits and he has also experienced emotional distress tied to his firing and discriminator treatment before that.

The complaint contains counts of retaliation and discrimination based upon national origin.

It also contains a count alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Mwangangi seeks overtime wages that he should have received under FLSA, as well as liquidated damages, attorney’s fees, expert witness fees, interest and costs, and other legal relief.

The federal case number is 2:13-cv-04687-SD.

-PennRecord

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