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Former worker sues company connected to RRAD: Man, 66, alleges he was subjected to age discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation

Former worker sues company connected to RRAD: Man, 66, alleges he was subjected to age discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation

August 13th, 2017 by Lynn LaRowe in Texarkana News

A 66-year-old man is suing VSE Corporation, a major supplier of contract labor to Red River Army Depot, for sexual harassment, age discrimination and retaliation.

Jessie Rollins filed suit Tuesday in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas federal court with the help of Texarkana lawyer Clarice Attaway. According to the complaint, Rollins' fellow male co-workers resented that he was hired over a younger friend of one of the men who worked alongside him in building 479 as an enviromental specialist in April 2014.

Rollins alleges that within a couple of weeks of starting employment, several of his co-workers would ask him personal questions about his wife, such as her age, her weight, her preference in underwear and sexual performance. The questions were allegedly graphic and unwanted.

"Rollins informed the men that he did not like to discuss sex with my wife with other men and that his wife was disabled," the complaint states.

Rollins claims he told his fellow employees that the reason he was working for VSE at RRAD was to earn money needed to pay for his wife's expensive medications.

Rollins alleges that after being subjected to a particularly graphic and unseemly question and comment, he confronted the much larger man who uttered the objectionable words. The other man became hostile, loud and promised "that he would have Rollins' job," the complaint alleges.

According to the complaint, Rollins was determined to continue working because of his financial needs. Rollins alleges that he complained of the harassment to RRAD's Chief of the Environmental Branch and was assured that the harassment and bullying would stop.

"However, the retaliation began at that point eventually resulting in Rollins' termination," the complaint states.

Rollins alleges he was ostracized by the other workers in building 479.

"He was not allowed to take part in special meals which were prepared for the group at Thanksgiving, when a co-worker would leave, and when other gatherings took place," the complaint states.

Rollins alleges that one of his co-workers taped a sign to the door he used to enter the building which said, "We don't like you."

Rollins claims that his VSE supervisor began to write up "bogus disciplinary actions," against him after he complained of his alleged mistreatment. The supervisor assigned Rollins to work in warehouse with no heat or air conditioning and eventually fired him, the complaint alleges. Rollins alleges VSE and its employees violated federally protected rights concerning age discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation.

Rollins is asking for compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney fees and court costs. VSE has not yet responded to the complaint. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III.

llarowe@texarkanagazette.com

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