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Man alleges discrimination at Vartek LLC

By Jenie Mallari-Torres | Oct 24, 2016

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TAMPA — A man is suing Vartek LLC, a Florida company, citing alleged discrimination, harassment, racial discrimination, retaliation, unpaid wages and violation of state and federal law.

Guilbert Joseph filed a complaint on Oct. 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida against Vartek LLC alleging that the Florida company breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that, on Feb. 4, 2005, he began his employment with the defendant as a machine operator and thereafter as a team leader. He consistently received good performance reviews until a new plant manager was hired in 2012. The manager allegedly constantly yelled and cursed the plaintiff, or called him names such as "Stupid Haitian." By mid-2014, another supervisor was hired and also began harassing and discriminating against Joseph, including repeatedly threatening him for termination, the complaint alleges. On April 28, 2015, he was finally fired from his job allegedly without sound basis. Furthermore, the plaintiff said he was not compensated the overtime rate throughout his employment with the defendant, thereby causing him damages including emotional pain and suffering. 

The plaintiff holds Vartek responsible because the defendant allegedly failed to compensate him for overtime hours worked, created a hostile work environment that interfered with the plaintiff's ability to perform his job, discriminated against the plaintiff on the basis of his race, and retaliated against plaintiff's verbal complaints of discrimination by terminating his employment.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment against defendant, damages, back pay and interest, front pay and benefits, attorneys' fees, costs, injunctive relief and any other relief the court deems just. He is represented by Gregory A. Owens and Miguel Bouzas of Bouzas Owens PA in Trinity.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida Case number 8:16-cv-02932

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