Man sues over alleged workplace retaliation

Dan Harkins May 20, 2015, 4:54pm


A man is suing his former employer for allegedly retaliating against and firing him after the man cooperated with a federal investigators looking into company abuses.

Roy A. Qualls filed a complaint on May 7 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas against ABM Janitorial Service.

According to the lawsuit, the defendant acted in a retaliatory way toward the plaintiff, an African-American, after he spoke with investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, who were investigating ABM.

Qualls, who was hired on Oct. 1, 2013, through a second-chance program for former prisoners, eventually was promoted to supervisor.

The investigation started in June 2014, the lawsuit states, and the company ultimately was ordered to give back-pay to workers it wasn't paying during break times.

The lawsuit states that immediately after the case was settled, the defendant "began to harass and retaliate against plaintiff testifying in support of another employee's rights and against the interest of ABM.

Qualls complained to a supervisor, the lawsuit states, and shortly after was demoted and started getting longer routes to make his job harder. Again he reported the condition, the lawsuit states, and soon received a promotion in the maintenance department. Soon after, however, a supervisor accused him a taking drugs and ordered him to take a drug test. The results were negative, but the supervisor ordered for another position to be found for Qualls.

He was ultimately transferred to work at Wells Fargo, but when he reported there on Jan. 23, 2015, to start work, he was told that he couldn't work there because of his criminal background. He was terminated.

The plaintiff, citing retaliation and a hostile work environment, seeks injunctive relief, compensatory damages, punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest; attorneys' fees and court costs.

The plaintiff is represented by attorney Darrell W. Jordan in Houston.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas case no. 4:15-cv-01235.

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U.S. Department of Labor
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