Southeast Texas car salesman Brett Bland filed a defamation suit last week, claiming that his former boss encouraged a raunchy environment at work, and bullied subordinates in a rather unusual and smelly way – by “weaponizing” his farts against employees.
Citing court documents, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote that Bland sued Jeremy Pratt, his former boss at the AutoNation Acura dealership in League City, Texas, and the dealership’s parent company, for creating a “sexually hostile” environment, where he allegedly used crude language and taunts toward his subordinates, and even went as far as regularly pinching the nipples of his male employees. Additionally, Bland claimed that Pratt used flatulence as a way to show workers who’s boss at the dealership.
“He reinforced dominance over his subordinates by regularly entering their enclosed offices, intentionally passing gas and then laughing as they were forced to breathe soiled air,” Bland alleged in his original petition in Galveston County’s 212th District Court.
Bland’s lawsuit also claimed that upper management chose not to do anything about Pratt’s purported behavior toward his subordinates, which encouraged him to up the ante with his alleged bullying. According to the former Acura car salesman, Pratt had warned employees that reporting him to human resources wouldn’t lead to anything, as he supposedly had the department’s director “wrapped around his finger.”
That warning came after an alleged incident that took place in February, when Pratt group texted several of Bland’s coworkers, sending a Photoshopped image of Bland where his face was superimposed onto a background similar to the ones used in jail booking or sex offender identification photos. The lawsuit states that the image, which was allegedly sent to eight to 10 employees and created by another coworker per Pratt’s request, contained the warnings “Keep your children safe,” and “you are receiving this because there may be a risk of sex offender activity in your area.”
After the group text was sent, one of Bland’s fellow employees allegedly responded with a message, where he openly wondered why “[Bland] kept asking if I had any pictures of my nieces and nephews.”
While Jeremy Pratt was fired by AutoNation Acura after the purported incidents, the dealership allegedly singled Brett Bland out after the firing, subjecting him to a new “eight or the gate” policy, where he was required to sell eight vehicles per month or face termination. Furthermore, Bland suggested in the lawsuit that Pratt was still allowed to “loiter” around the dealership after his dismissal, which allowed him to continue ridiculing his former subordinates.
It wasn’t stated how much money Bland is seeking for the alleged instances of workplace bullying, but the lawsuit indicates that he is asking for damages and reimbursement of court costs. According to the Daily Mail, AutoNation issued a statement responding to Bland’s allegations, but chose not to comment on the matter, except for a confirmation that it had “investigated the matter several months ago and [taken] appropriate action.”