Worker sues former employer, accusing supervisors of using ethnic slurs

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Plumber has sued his former employer, claiming he was harassed, Miya Shay reports. (KTRK)

A Houston area plumber has sued his former employer, accusing his supervisors of using ethnic slurs after he grew a beard.

Adrian Rosales learned his trade at Chaparral Plumbing, but now he wants to face off in court.

"I got tired of name calling and harassment I was receiving at Chaparral Plumbing," said Rosales, who wears a long beard and a shaven head.

The suit alleges that Rosales, who is of Middle Eastern and Hispanic descent, began getting harassed by supervisors at the company after he grew a full, long beard in 2014.

"Mountain man, Taliban, ISIS, Osama Bin Laden, Osama Bin Laden Jr., Iranian monkey," he said.

Rosales says the name calling was so pervasive among his supervisors that it affected his work and home life, sending him into depression and causing him to see a therapist. He quit in 2015.

The owner of Chaparral Plumbing tells a much different story.

"I'm sort of devastated with it," said Charlie Jones, who opened the business more than 30 years ago. "Because it's not the nature of the way we treat our employees at all."

Jones says he hired and re-hired Rosales several times over the years, often giving him a job when he needed it. Jones said he never heard anyone use slurs against the plumber, though he admits he did not know what his supervisors said to the crews on a day to day basis.

"I've never heard him called any of it, but I'm not out there with him every day. His supervisors some of these guys were out there with him," he said.

Controller Kim Simmons says the only phrase she heard in the office was "mountain man" and she thought it was a nickname.

"Nobody called him a terrorist," said Simmons. "The only name that we are aware of is mountain man, that's the name he went by around here." Simmons went on to say that many employees stay on their jobs for years, and it's a family atmosphere.

Rosales and his lawyer say they have a sworn statement from a former co-worker who can corroborate their assertion.

"It's on its face, derogatory, offense and should not be happening, and people need to be held accountable," said Raj Mahadass, the attorney hired by Rosales. "They're supposed to do better in their hiring, especially when it comes to their supervisors."

Since the lawsuit was just filed Friday, it will be some time before it goes through the legal system.
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