John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Oct. 16, 2013, 12:01pm

HOUSTON - A commercial pilot has filed a lawsuit against the airline where he was formerly employed, asserting its alleged actions resulted in his deportation from Qatar.

Michael Ghannoum sued Qatar Airways Q.C.S.C., doing business as Qatar Airways Q.C.S.C. Corp., in Harris County District Court last month.

Houston federal court received the litigation on Oct. 10.

Ghannoum, a former commercial pilot of Qatar Airways, alleges the defendant's CEO suspended him in May because of "several demeaning and false" allegations.

According to the plaintiff, the purported accusations against him were "unrelated to any rule of employment or contract of employment" between him and the airline.

"These false allegations were in regards to the plaintiff's relationship with a flight attendant who was also employed by the defendant," court papers say.

They add the CEO displayed several images of Ghannoum which were reportedly shot while he was in a private setting.

The plaintiff later returned to duty on May 16 only to be suspended again a few weeks later.

He was fired without reason and "was never paid for his work" shortly afterwards, the suit says.

He alleges Qatar Airways withheld $40,000 from him for 24 days and cancelled his Qatari residential permit. He claims the airline blocked him from leaving the country even though he had interviews in other countries.

Ghannoum claims he was worried that Qatar Airways would exile him from the region, the suit says, so he was "forced" to sign release documents absolving the company from any claims he may have against it.

"Embarrassingly, the defendant withheld the plaintiff's passport and resident permit resulting in the plaintiff's ultimate deportation from Qatar by Qatari immigration services," the suit says.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Haroon Rafati of The Rafati Law Firm PLLC in San Antonio is representing Ghannoum.

Case No. 4:13-CV-2994

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