Jeff Pope, a now former Houston Texans front office employee, is alleging that he was fired because he is black, according to a discrimination complaint.
Pope filed a racial discrimination complaint this week with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that he was racially targeted by former General Manager Brian Gaine, according to the New York Post.
“My client was terminated; we are alleging it was clearly on the basis of race by Mr. Gaine, who was recently terminated by the Texans,” Pope’s Lawyer, N. Lucy Chukwurah, said.
“My client was offered a severance. He came to me about negotiating and asked if he should sign it. I found there was more there. I wondered why he was being offered a severance,” Chukwurah added. “We discussed what his options were and filed the EEOC discrimination complaint. Prior to doing so, we got in contact with the Texans about negotiating and at least giving him a severance package that’s fair. They declined to engage in that process.”
Chukwurah also said that she realized the firing was suspect after Gaine was fired. The attorney claims Gaine was fired after he contacted the team alleging racial discrimination.
The team fired Gaine after an 11-5 season in which the Texans won the AFC South.
The complaint notes that Gaine fired eight other black employees once he took over in January of 2018. “It appeared, and I believe, that he was targeting all minorities in leadership positions and was set to replace them with non-African-Americans. Which he did,” the complaint reads.
Pope also claimed that Gaine singled him out and yelled at him during a meeting and in front of a large number of employees.
“Pope was fired for job performance issues, including falsifying payroll and overtime records, according to multiple sources not authorized to speak publicly,” the Houston Chronicle reports.
The team refused to comment on the allegations saying, “We do not comment on pending litigation. The Houston Texans do not tolerate personal or professional discrimination of any kind.”
However, the team did make clear that Pope’s allegations had nothing to do with the team’s decision to fire Gaine.
“This claim by Mr. Pope was not a factor in the recent decision to relieve Brian Gaine from his job as general manager.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.