Galveston man sues Valero for harassment over coworkers' comments about wife, daughter

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Apr. 23, 2008, 10:36am

GALVESTON – Sex discrimination and retaliation are accusations a Galveston County man has harbored against a petrochemical company that formerly employed him.

Jack A. Demack of Galveston is suing Valero Energy Corporation in the 56th District Court for unfair termination, arguing that management failed to investigate episodes of sexual harassment reportedly against him. He filed the suit Apr. 14.

According to the original complaint, Valero hired Demack as a relief operator in 2004. He was subsequently promoted to the position of "B" operator.

At the beginning of 2007, according to the plaintiff, he was forced to endure sexual comments from colleagues regarding his wife and daughter. Demack eventually sought intervention from his superiors, but claims his grievances were met with the threat of discharge.

The suit alleges Valero's practices went against its own terms and conditions of employment.

"Management failed to provide any assistance regarding his complaints of the sexually hostile environment and then forced him to participate in evaluations which were intended for Demack to fail," states the suit.

Valero eventually discharged Demack in March that same year. He then pursued legal action on grounds the motives behind his dismissal are in violation of the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act.

"Valero's discriminatory policies or practices have promoted a hostile working environment, to the detriment of Plaintiff," explains the suit.

"Valero has maintained a system that is retaliatory against individuals who make known their opposition to discriminatory policies. But for Mr. Demack's participation in opposition to Valero's discriminatory policies, he would not have been subjected to the circumstances that have brought about this suit."

Demack successfully navigated the channels to bring about the TCHRA charges. The suit claims, however, that he bore the brunt of retaliation from supervisors and coworkers prior to lodging the protest, and "the retaliatory conduct continued until Plaintiff was constructively discharged from his employment with Defendant on or about March 2007."

Demack, with the help of attorney Howard L. Steele Jr., is seeking actual and consequential, economic, and punitive damages against Valero.

The case is assigned to Judge Lonnie Cox.

Case No. 08CV0371

More News