Hockley Co. man asserts defamatory statements cost him his job

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Nov. 21, 2013, 1:03pm

HOUSTON - Hockley County resident Joaquin Salazar recently brought a defamation lawsuit against a company he used to contract with.

Claiming he was sacked for allegedly stealing, Salazar sued Occidental Petroleum in Harris County District Court on Nov. 14.

The suit was removed to the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas on Nov. 20.

Occidental brought in the plaintiff, who is employed by M.B.F. Inspection Service, to review crew payrolls submitted by foremen with D & D Construction Co.

"In doing so, the plaintiff necessarily had to rely on the foremen to submit accurate payrolls as it was not possible for the plaintiff to continuously observe all of the different crews to determine who was working for any particular foreman during a given week," the suit says.

Salazar further explains that sometime in late 2011, the D & D foremen "may have been falsifying payroll records," insisting he had "absolutely" no involvement nor benefited from it.

The defendant, through its project manager, nonetheless fielded theft accusations against Salazar and instructed M.B.F. to fire him, the suit says.

M.B.F., which is not a party in the case, dismissed the claimant last month to which he contends was done "wrongfully and without justification."

Consequently, Salazar seeks unspecified monetary damages.

He is represented by attorney Craig Johnston of Johnston & Miller in Lubbock.

Case No. 4:13-CV-3440

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