John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 25, 2013, 6:05pm

HOUSTON - Fort Bend County resident Frank Gibbons is suing Direct Energy U.S. Home Services Inc., claiming the company fired him because of his age.

Gibbons filed suit Jan. 3 in Harris County District Court with the defendant removing the case to the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas on Feb. 13.

The respondent hired the plaintiff in March 1990. He assumed various positions with USHS and its predecessors during a 20-year period which ended in June 2010.

In July 2008, USHS offered Gibbons a position as vice president of a newly-created division as a result of his high performance, according to the suit.

An annual salary of nearly $130,000 per year in addition to other benefits and incentives made up a year-to-year auto-renewing contract which Gibbons signed in August 2008 along with numerous documents including consulting and non-compete agreements.

Shortly afterwards, the complainant and his family moved to Maryland where he began his training for the division vice president post.

The suit states that the individual who was supposed to be his predecessor did not train him, insisting the plaintiff "was set up to fail" because he was older than 40.

It further shows Gibbons, as division vice president, hatched efforts to bring the company back from the red toward the end of 2009 only to be informed that he was to be replaced on grounds there was no "good gel among the management team."

Gibbons returned to Houston where he was to work as a service manager on the respondent's representations it would cover his moving expenses, which the suit refutes it did not.

USHS purportedly decreased his salary without his agreement or prior knowledge in January 2010.

Five months later, the defendant fired Gibbons and subsequently sought to compensate him less than what his contractual agreements specified.

The suit insists the reductions in question were "to take advantage of [Gibbons] due to his age."

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Charles H. Peckham with Peckham PLLC in Houston is representing the complainant.

Case No. 4:13-CV-382

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