Former employee accuses maintenance company of sexual harassment

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jun. 25, 2012, 11:00am

GALVESTON - A Brazoria County woman claims she was subjected to "illegal sexual harassment, a sexual hostile environment and unlawful retaliation" when she worked for Excel Maintenance Services Inc., recent court documents say.

In a lawsuit filed June 11 in Galveston federal court, Ruby Thomas explains that she experienced verbal and physical acts of harassment while employed with the defendant as a line and bagging operator from June 2010 to April 2011.

Thomas asserts her foreman made lewd comments, requested sexual favors and touched her inappropriately, however, the respondent "took no immediate action to prevent or correct" the alleged misconduct.

The plaintiff claims she brought the alleged abuse to her superiors' attention in November 2010, and she was subsequently placed on paid leave while an investigation was pending.

According to the original petition, the same supervisor Thomas implicated as the person who made unwanted advances retaliated against her "by assigning her to work in an undesirable, dangerous and remote location in the elements isolated and secluded from other employees."

The defendant terminated Thomas on April 19, 2011, allegedly for causing an accident with a forklift, but the suit insists the dismissal "was simply a pretext for illegal discrimination and retaliation."

The suit adds other workers were involved in comparable safety violations, but they received more favorable treatment and a less severe punishment.

Thomas argues she had a spotless work performance record prior to her firing.

She consequently seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Attorney Clark Woodson III of Angleton is representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa is presiding over the case.

Case No. 3:12-cv-177

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