Disabled Latino worker charges ex-employer with discrimination

By Carol Ostrow | Aug 27, 2015

A disabled Harris County man is suing his former employer, alleging civil rights violation, disability discrimination and retaliatory discharge in his job loss.

Eriberto Torres of Houston filed a lawsuit Aug. 24 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against NAES Central Inc., doing business as Amtech Elevator Services, alleging disability and racial discrimination in 2014.

The complaint states Torres, who is of Hispanic-Latino-Mexican ancestry, worked for Amtech from January 2008 until Jan. 14, 2014, “when his employment was terminated due to ‘a lack of work.’” According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff actually was dismissed for racial and health reasons following encounters with a supervisor whom he says made racist comments and engaged in hostile behavior beginning in 2009.

The lawsuit states when Torres complained to the company’s human resources department, he experienced retaliatory behavior and the stress exacerbated an existing health condition, a degenerative hip disorder, which in turn forced him to take short-term disability leave in December 2012 for intensive medical procedures involving stem cell injections.

When Torres returned to work, the suit says, he was twice reassigned to different departments. The suit states his new tasks became too physically demanding, that his employer knew of his disability and failed to engage with him to handle his needs, even when he asked to be transferred back to his original position.

The lawsuit charges Amtech with ADA violation and discrimination based on race and/or national origin, and retaliatory discharge. The plaintiff alleges pain and suffering.

Torres seeks compensatory and punitive damages within the jurisdictional amount, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney fees, expenses and costs. He is represented by attorneys Alfonso Kennard Jr. and Jose Galvan of Kennard Blankenship Robinson in Houston.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number 4:15-cv-02434.

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