FRESNO, Calif. (CN) – A maintenance worker claims employees at Harris Ranch Beef Company repeatedly harassed him about his tribal heritage and forced him to quit by intentionally throwing dry-ice bombs at him. He says he suffered injuries from the “large shards of plastic which would shoot through the air with each dry-ice bomb explosion.”
Richard Vargas started working the graveyard shift for Harris Ranch in August 2008, but says he was forced to resign within two months after the harassment dangerously escalated.
He says employees routinely asked him derogatory questions such as “Have you ever done buffalos in the butt?” and “Do you smoke the Totem Pole?” They also wrote “HOW” in fresh blue grease on the back of his helmet, he claims.
Vargas says other employees posted an offensive newspaper article in the work lunchroom, with a picture that had been manipulated to show Indian braids and his name in the caption. He claims they also stuck a blown-up rubber glove on a Coke can – made to look like an Indian head dress with his name written on it – in the employee lounge.
Vargas says he could no longer work there after employees began throwing dry-ice bombs at him and the managers refused to act.
He alleges harassment and constructive discharge and demands damages for emotional distress and attorney fees. He is represented by Monrae English and Amy Tipton.