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Former Intel employee sues over repeated pranks at work

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Posted: Sunday, May 12, 2013 12:00 am

A former Intel employee says he had a “kick me” sign taped to his back and was kicked repeatedly by coworkers.

Harvey Palacio, who worked at the Intel plant in Rio Rancho, filed a federal lawsuit against the company on April 29.

Palacio says he felt a co-worker attach the sign to his back while he was at work at Intel’s Hitachi Shift 7, where he worked as a maintenance technician.

He approached coworkers to remove the sign; they kicked him in the buttocks instead. Palacio says he approached his coworkers several times and asked them to remove the sign, turned his back and received a kick instead. It happened several times in a row, he says.

One coworker kicked Palacio three times and another coworker kicked him twice before the sign was removed, according to the suit.

“Palacio felt demoralized and assaulted and he began to cry during the drive home,” the suit says.

After the incident, which happened on Aug. 31, 2012, Palacio took a week off of work, the suit says, and later approached the company’s human resources department to complain about how he was treated and seek a remedy.

Palacio says coworkers also hid work his uniforms and filled his work bag with trash, and he had “his flashlight disassembled, then the bulb darkened with black ink, which hindered proper lighting when Palacio would inspect tools.”

Two of the employees involved in the incident later lost their jobs over the pranks.

The suit says that the kind of behavior was relatively common in for that shift at Intel.

Palacios’ coworkers would regularly have their clean-room gowns hidden or removed from their hangers, and there was a report that the side-mirrors on a shift supervisor’s Jeep were moved.

The suit goes on to say that in September of 2012, human resources investigator Eva Breslin “confirmed to Palacio that other inappropriate behavior was discovered, to include name-calling and nipple pinching.”

Intel spokeswoman Natasha Martell said the company is looking into the matter.

“We are reviewing the complaint and it is pending litigation, so no further comments,” Martell said.

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