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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Worker Says He Couldn’t Stand It Anymore

PHOENIX (CN) - The president of a debt collection company harassed his only Mexican operations director with a litany of racially based insults, the former manager claims in an explicit lawsuit.

Gerardo Vargas sued NCC Business Services of America on Jan. 16 in Federal Court. The company is the only defendant, though Vargas attributes much of his alleged harassment to company president Ed Pollan.

Vargas says that when he asked about a bonus he was owed, "the response from Pollan was in sum and substance: 'I will pay you what you are worth. Why would I pay you the bonus? Usually in your culture the Latinos are very grateful for what they get paid and they make it happen, with an entire family living in a small space sharing the expenses.'"

Vargas claims when he complained that he was paid $25,000 less than other directors in the company, Pollan told him: "Most Latinos will take what they get paid and provide for the entire household."

On another occasion, he claims, Pollan told him: "'I pay you enough, Gerardo. Your people are used to living 10 families in a household.'"

He claims Pollan told him: "This relationship is not going to work. I usually love working with you Latinos, but you are pushing it. You are not like the rest of them.'"

He claims that when he submitted paperwork for a bonus due, Pollan told the comptroller to deny it. "When plaintiff inquired about the bonus ... Pollan responded in sum and substance: 'You give Latinos a bad name,'" the lawsuit states. He says Pollan also compared the request for payment to "stealing."

Vargas claims he was the only director not allowed to use his office, and the only director required to work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Vargas says he was forced to resign in 2013 after his pay was reduced and he was demoted to debt collector.

He seeks back pay, front pay, and compensatory and punitive damages for racial discrimination and civil rights violations. He is represented by Robert Trop.

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