A Hope, Ark., man claims he was subjected to sexual harassment, treated unfairly and fired in retaliation by his supervisor at Historic Washington State Park.
Texarkana lawyer Joshua Potter filed a lawsuit in a Texarkana federal court last week for former park carpenter Bruce Floyd. The suit names the state of Arkansas, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Maintenance Supervisor Edward Donihoo, Parks and Tourism Executive Director Richard Davies, Hiring Officer Mark Steindl, Regional Supervisor Shea Lewis, and Assistant Park Superintendent Mike Roberts as defendants.
Floyd is asking for his job back. He is also seeking a judgment for the money and benefits he has lost.
Donihoo allegedly referred to Floyd and a co-worker as “gay,” and once placed his crotch on an employee’s shoulder. Floyd’s complaint accuses Donihoo of making negative, racially-charged comments about employees of color, of spying on employees in an attempt to play “gotcha,” and of treating employees he didn’t like differently than those he did.
Floyd, who was hired as an assistant carpenter in the maintenance department at Old Washington in 2008, filed a formal grievance with park administrators in August 2013, which listed specific incidents of workplace harassment in more than 15 pages of narrative.
On August 21, 2013, a hearing was conducted by Hiring Manager Mark Steindl at which Floyd, Donihoo, and other current and former park maintenance staff gave testimony. A copy of Steidl’s Aug. 26, 2013 report is attached to Floyd’s complaint.
“After hearing the testimony of four of Mr. Floyd’s co-workers I believe that Mr. Donihoo has created an unacceptable and hostile work environment for his staff,” Steidl’s report states.
Donihoo admitted to calling Floyd “gay” and to making racially disparaging remarks and apologized, according to Steidl’s report. But instead of firing, demoting, or reassigning Donihoo, Steidl recommended that the agency reach an “agreement” with Donihoo that his troubling conduct would cease.
Floyd was let go in January. He claims Donihoo told him that there wasn’t enough work to do at the park. But Floyd’s complaint alleges Donihoo hired a younger man as a full-time carpenter not long after he was laid off. Donihoo allegedly bragged about getting rid of the “trouble” to other employees after Floyd left the agency in January.
Floyd’s suit alleges sexual harassment, age discrimination, breach of contract, retaliatory discharge and negligence.
In addition to reinstatement, Floyd wants actual and punitive damages and compensation for his mental anguish. Potter filed the suit Nov. 25 in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas.