Former Invista worker claims he was fired for claiming sexual harassment
Jan. 15, 2014 at 6 p.m.
Updated Jan. 14, 2014 at 7:15 p.m.
A former chemical operator at the Victoria Invista plant claims he was sexually harassed and fired for complaining about it.
Jason Young was hired in April 2012.
A trainer began calling Young derogatory names and making sexually explicit threats in June 2012, according to an original petition filed in the 24th District Court.
Invista dismissed the trainer and a manager, who warned Young not to complain to human resources, after the company found they acted inappropriately, said David Manley, Young's attorney.
But shortly after making the complaint in August 2012, Young, whose age or city of residence were not available, was fired.
"They alleged a safety violation. He forgot to close a valve or something like that," Manley said. "We have a witness who is expected to testify that he did the same thing (not close a valve) but wasn't disciplined in the same way."
Invista denied the claims in its Jan. 9 response to the lawsuit.
Young failed to exhaust the administrative remedies at his disposal, and the statute of limitations has passed, wrote J. Bradley Spalding, the company's Houston-based attorney.
Texas is also an at-will employment state, which means a person can be terminated at any time for any reason, Spalding wrote.
Amy Hodges, an Invista spokeswoman, declined to comment about the pending litigation.
"Invista is committed to maintaining a respectful workplace, including a no retaliation policy, that is in compliance with equal employment opportunity laws, statutes and regulations," she wrote via email. "This commitment goes hand in hand with our commitment to the health and safety of our employees, contractors and the community."
Invista issued an additional statement concerning the termination of Young: “Mr. (Jason) Young was terminated for actions and decisions that could have presented a serious threat to the safety of his co-workers. The plaintiff’s attorney has said that his client ‘... forgot to close a valve or something like that ...,’ but the reality is that the individual’s actions were clear and serious violations of Invista’s safety practices. The safety of every individual who works at our company is a responsibility that is paramount. We believe Mr. Young’s claims are without merit and intend to vigorously defend any further litigation.”
Late Wednesday, Spalding asked for the case to be moved from state district court to federal court.
Young is requesting more than $200,000 in damages.
Invista makes nylon, spandex and polyester fibers as well as specialty materials. It operates in 20 countries, according to its website.