COLUMBUS, Ohio (CN) - Managers of a Gap store warned employees about "salters," who get a job as a ruse to organize a union, then fired a worker on false accusations that he was such a character, the man claims in court.
W. Roger Montgomery sued The Gap in Franklin County Court. The company hired him in February 2010 and promoted him to maintenance supervisor in November 2011, he says.
According to the complaint: "On or about July 18, 2012, defendant held a mandatory 'Working Together' meeting for supervisors and management to discuss concerns about defendant's Groveport [Ohio] distribution center becoming unionized.
"During the 'Working Together' meeting, representatives for defendant profiled the type of employee who might be a considered a 'salter,' or an individual gaining employment at the facility in order to organize a union. Defendant advised supervisors to contact Human Resources ('HR') if they suspected an employee of being a 'salter.'
"During a break of the 'Working Together' meeting on or about July 18, 2012, Joe LNU, Human Resources Director, asked plaintiff numerous questions regarding any past union activity. Plaintiff informed Joe LNU that he never worked for a union. Joe LNU accused plaintiff of acting like a 'salter.' Plaintiff informed Joe LNU that the accusation was ludicrous and denied being a 'salter.'"
Nonetheless, Montgomery claims, after that Working Together meeting, The Gap required him to attend meetings with HR every other week. "No other supervisor was required to attend regularly scheduled meetings with HR," he says in the complaint.
The Gap held another Working Together meeting on Aug. 8, 2012.
It put him on administrative leave in December for a bogus "safety violation," and then fired him, Montgomery says.
"After plaintiff's termination, an employee informed him that defendant terminated his employment because it thought he was the 'salter,'" according to the complaint.
Montgomery filed an unfair labor practice charge against The Gap last week with the Cincinnati Office of the National Labor Relations Board.
He seeks reinstatement, lost wages, costs and punitive damages for wrongful termination. He is represented by Laren Knoll.