Judge outlines promotions procedure for Lufkin Industries

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A federal judge has outlined a promotions policy and appointed an overseer for Lufkin Industries, through an injunction released Friday.

Tony P. Rosenstein of the Houston firm Baker Botts will serve as an ombudsman to investigate complaints from the employees.

The appointment was detailed in an injunction issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark of Beaumont as part of the resolution of black workers' class-action lawsuit against Lufkin Industries.

Company president and chief executive Jay Glick declined comment.

The ruling stated Lufkin Industries must use a strictly objective measure in determining promotions, awarding them based on who is most qualified among those eligible. The injunction even states the company must use testing and similar practices to determine who is eligible. The procedure goes into effect for hundreds of positions, as outlined in the 50-page injunction.

Clark ruled last June that Lufkin Industries' black employees are due $5.5 million in back pay and interest. The ruling cited the 107-year-old company for unlawful discrimination in awarding promotions.

A second ruling, which was handed down Monday, explains how the money will be distributed to the members of the lawsuit, which is any black employee of the company since 1994.

"These remedial orders on the injunction and monetary relief are a huge victory for hundreds of black employees of Lufkin Industries," the plaintiffs' attorney, Tim Garrigan, said. "Time will tell if Lufkin's management fulfills its obligations to be fair to all the workers."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.