CLARKSBURG – A man is suing Asplundh Tree Expert Co. for wrongfully terminating his employment.

Helio Martinez is Hispanic and it from Puerto Rico, according to a complaint filed Jan. 27 in Harrison Circuit Court and removed to federal court on Feb. 25.

Martinez claims during the course of his employment with Asplundh he was placed in charge of the only crew made up of only Hispanic members.

During his work with Asplundh, Martinez noted that his Hispanic crew was treated less favorably than non-Hispanic crews and the equipment provided to Martinez's crew was inferior to that provided to other crews, according to the suit.

Martinez claims when he complained about the problem, it was never completely corrected.

During his employment, at least one supervisor was known to say that Hispanics should go back to where they came from, according to the suit. On Sept. 3, 2013, Martinez was terminated from his employment.

Martinez claims Asplundh accused him of being personally involved in wrongdoing based on an alleged surveillance video depicting misconduct.

The videos produced by Asplundh did not contain evidence of wrongdoing by Martinez and the videos did not include evidence that Martinez permitted or condoned wrongdoing by members of his crew, according to the suit.

Martinez claims the defendant discriminated against him and caused him damages.

The defendant's actions violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act, according to the suit.

Martinez is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Allan N. Karlin and Jane E. Peak of Allan N. Karlin & Associates.

The case is assigned to District Judge Irene Keeley.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number: 1:15-cv-00030


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