Male sexual harassment trial against UTMB slated for early December

David Yates Nov. 23, 2009, 6:26am

All Erik Tolpo wanted for Christmas was for his female boss to stop sexually harassing him.

But since he was demoted and saw his salary nearly cut in half in an alleged act of retaliation , Tolpo will instead ask a Jefferson County jury to find the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston negligent and award him monetary damages for his mental anguish and humiliation.

The trial of Tolpo vs. UTMB is slated to begin early December in Judge Bob Wortham's 58th District Court.

The Record first reported on the discrimination suit filed by Tolpo, a male employee at UTMB Galveston who claims he was demoted because of his gender, in April 2008.

In his suit, Tolpo says he was demoted because he filed a discrimination complaint against his female supervisor in April 2006.

Since that time, Tolpo says he has worked in a developing pattern of retaliation and discrimination and saw his salary reduced from $62,000 a year to $36,000.

According to Tolpo's original complaint, he was a state employee in the hospital's Correctional Managed Care Department. He was a practice manager until he was demoted on Oct. 19, 2006.

He filed suit alleging violations of the Texas Labor Code based on gender discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation.

"Tolpo would show that because of the retaliation, he has sustained actual damages and reasonable attorneys' fees, for which he seeks to recover herein."

In addition to damages sought, Tolpo was also seeking to be reinstated to his former position.

UTMB is represented in part by attorney Jack O'Donnell from the office of the Texas Attorney General.

Tolpo is represented by attorney Thomas Peterson of Peterson, Petit & Peterson.

Case No. A181-529

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