John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Oct. 11, 2012, 5:50pm

HOUSTON - Three women who were formerly employed with Jacobs Field Services North America, Inc. allege the company terminated them for making sexual harassment complaints, recent court documents say.

Denham Springs, La., resident Candy Alston and Harris County residents Norma Moreno and Ledona Ryles each claim in a lawsuit filed Oct. 10 in Houston federal court that Jacobs did nothing to address allegations their supervisor, Ram Benitez, subjected them to unwelcome sexual acts.

Alston worked as an expediter from June 2009 to April 2010 and Moreno, who was also an expediter, worked at Jacobs from some time in 2009 to August 2010 while Ryles assumed a support foreman position from November 2009 to March 2010.

The suit asserts Benitez, who is not a defendant, made inappropriate comments to Alston as well as invaded her personal space, stating the supervisor supposedly intimidated her when she tried to report him.

Alston shows she was severely tormented at work and "made to feel like she was a liar and a troublemaker."

According to the suit, several co-workers sided with Benitez rather than her "because of the obvious tension between her and management" and others warned her "that she was on thin ice with management."

Jacobs fired Alston after she filed retaliation complaints with management.

Moreno accuses Benitez of proposing she have sex with him in exchange for a raise and a promotion as well as touching her private parts against her will and saying off-color things to her.

Like Moreno, she argues that the supervisor retaliated against her in response to her resistance, even going as far as to demand she bring in a doctor's note after a 1-day absence though company policy states notes are needed after three consecutive absences.

The defendant then terminated Moreno.

Meanwhile, Benitez reportedly mistreated Ryles for reporting the harassment in question prior to her own dismissal from Jacobs.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Katrina Patrick with The Law Offices of Katrina Patrick in Houston is representing the complainants.

Case No. 4:12-cv-3019

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