Total Building Maintenance, Inc., in Carrollton, is in the business of cleanliness. For its corporate clients, it cleans carpets and washes windows, among other janitorial duties. But if a new lawsuit filed recently is to be believed, the company, especially its chief operations officer, Neil Chopra, has been engaged in some less-than-clean activities.
In mid-2011, a man named Christopher Key started working for the cleaning company. He moved up its ranks quickly. After only a few months, he was promoted, and Chopra became his immediate supervisor. Around the same time as his promotion, however, Key's boss hit him for the first time, he claims in the lawsuit.
One day, Key claims, Chopra punched him in the testicles. He fell to the floor. Stop it, he told Chopra, who responded strangely. He told the man he had just punched that he was only joking, only playing around, Key claims.
Every Friday afternoon, Chopra held meetings that employees were required to attend. After the meetings wrapped up, Chopra would start punching, according to the lawsuit. And it wasn't just Key who got the shaft. He observed other employees receiving the same treatment, he claims.
Key claims the company, a mom-and-pop shop, had no HR department. Company policy was to report abuse to a supervisor. But in Key's case, his supervisor was also his abuser.
He confided in a fellow coworker. My supervisor keeps punching me, Key told the coworker, according to the suit. That's normal, the coworker said; the best thing to do is to try to leave the Friday meetings early. At the next meeting, Key attempted this strategy. It didn't work. Still, he had bills to pay; he didn't leave the company.
Eventually, Key claims, Chopra stepped up his abuse. He got a stun gun and began to shock employees on their backs, arms and necks. Key claims Chopra begged to let him shock him, but Key refused.
Soon, Chopra got a stronger stun gun. One day, he called Key out to a shed. Key walked from his office toward the shed, but before he got there, Chopra ambushed him, Key claims. He shocked him in the testicles. Key claims in the complaint, "It was very painful, and left a large area bruised." A week later, Chopra punched him in the same area again.
On another occasion, Key claims that Chopra, using a hose, sprayed him with water while he sat at his desk, soaking his clothes and his paperwork. He cleaned the mess up alone.
The last straw, what led to Key finally quitting, happened around Thanksgiving in 2012. Chopra and Key drove out to Waco together for a job. On the way there, Chopra reached over the vehicle's median and grabbed Key's penis. Angry, Key shouted at his boss, telling him he didn't appreciate his advances.
Key claims Chopra continued during this trip to ask him, "What's wrong?"
The next day, Key complained to the company's president, who was also Chopra's wife. He detailed the abuse, and Chopra was, at least supposedly, fired. But Key would often see his old boss' vehicle in the parking lot and would sometimes see him in person at the office. Had he really been let go?
Key, at last, couldn't take it anymore. A month after he complained to Chopra's wife, he quit. He filed the complaint Friday.
The lawyer for Chopra and the company declined to comment about the complaint.
Send your story tips to the author, Sky Chadde.
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