Missouri woman alleges Galveston resort fired her for harassment complaints

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Aug 29, 2012

GALVESTON - Debra Wooten-Roach asserts she was terminated by Silverleaf Resorts Inc. because she complained about sexual harassment.

Court papers filed Aug. 21 in Galveston federal court state the alleged firing was based on Silverleaf's assumptions that Wooten-Roach was going to file a discrimination report.
Silverleaf hired the plaintiff in 2006.

Her time with the defendant included general involvement "in the business of selling time shares for the company and taking care of customers."

Wooten-Roach served as a sales manager at the respondent's Galveston office at the time the harassment in question took place.

According to the suit, a colleague named Phil Slack and another co-worker "subjected Ms. Wooten to a hostile work environment based on her sex."

The plaintiff claims the men were constantly sexually and verbally abusive and demeaning toward her concerning her sexuality, weight and intellect, stating they reportedly made unwanted comments and jokes as well as solicited invitations to have sex on various occasions.

Other women in the office were subjected to the misconduct, and at least one female quit her job because of the hostile work environment, the suit says.

It explains that Wooten-Roach reported Slack to her director only to face a series of violent threats from the latter, who allegedly once cornered the complainant in the restroom and said, "I am going to get you."

Convinced Silverleaf was not going to address her ordeal, Wooten-Roach left and stayed in her apartment for three months before moving back to her native Missouri to perform in a country music show in Branson.

The defendant eventually persuaded the plaintiff to return to Galveston in late 2010 informing her that Slack was gone, however, her second stint was short-lived as she was dismissed on Mar. 4, 2011.

The suit argues Silverleaf fired her on the grounds her harassment claims would impede the sale of its assets.

Consequently, Wooten-Roach seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Attorney Thomas H. Padgett Jr. of Bellaire is representing her.

Case No. 3:12-cv-242

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