Carol Ostrow Mar. 30, 2015, 12:45pm


A tugboat worker has sued his employer, alleging gender discrimination and employment law violation.

Refugio De Los Santos Jr. filed a lawsuit March 13 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against Martin Resource Management Corporation, also known as Martin Marine, and Martin Midstream Partners, also known as Martin Marine, alleging civil rights infringement and Texas labor code violation.

According to the complaint, De Los Santos was hired by the defendant to work on a tugboat based in La Porte and was the only Hispanic member of the crew. He was harassed beginning in May 2013 but initially did not report it because he was threatened with dismissal for insubordination, the suit states.

The complaint states the tugboat captain grasped the plaintiff’s genitals, attempted to engage him in a discussion of penis size and tried to get De Los Santos to expose himself so the captain could measure his sexual organ. After De Los Santos complained, the captain threatened job termination and began to micro-manage the plaintiff’s activity, the suit states. When another worker made unwelcome sexual advances toward him in October 2013, De Los Santos finally reported to higher management, according to the lawsuit, and the hostility and harassment increased.

De Los Santos was transferred to another vessel, but terminated Jan. 27, 2014. He alleges he was fired in retaliation, and charges his employer with demeaning behavior that created a hostile work environment and altered the terms of his employment.

The suit alleges pain, suffering, humiliation and distress.

De Los Santos seeks compensatory and punitive damages for lost wages, benefits, and work opportunities, plus attorney fees, expenses and costs. He is represented by attorneys Charles Peckham and Mary Martin of Peckham in Houston.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number: 4:15-cv-00671

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