Cypress man sues Pepsi over worker's comp issue
A Cypress man is suing his former employer, accusing the company of retaliating against him for filing a worker's compensation claim after being hurt on the job.
Ricardo Sobalvarro filed a complaint against Bottling Group LLC, doing business as Pepsi Beverages Co. and Pepsi Bottling Group, on Nov. 5 in Harris County District Court. Sobalvarro claims the company violated the Texas Worker's Compensation Act by taking adverse personnel action against him after filing an on-the-job injury claim.
Sobalvarro says he started working at the Pepsi Bottling Co. as a bulk account representative in 2006. He says he injured his back while on-duty and immediately reported it to his supervisor. Sobalvarro says he was told to go see a doctor.
Sobalvarro says before he could be fully evaluated by a physician, his supervisor put him on "light duty" and had him perform tasks that further exacerbated his back injuries. The reassignment also allegedly reduced Sobalvarro's pay. He says he was continually harassed and mistreated by his supervisor and coworkers as well.
In March, Sobalvarro says he was told he would need surgery for a bulging disc that was compressing a nerve in his back. He says he left work to prepare for the procedure that was eventually denied by the company's insurer.
In August, Sobalvarro says he was cleared by doctors to return to "light duty" work at the Pepsi Bottling Co. He says he was told he could not return until cleared for "full duty" - approval Sobalvarro's physicians provided in September. Sobalvarro says he was told by his employer that his position was no longer available.
Sobalvarro contends he was put out of work by Pepsi Bottling Co. as retaliation for filing a worker's compensation claim. He is asking to be reinstated with the company and awarded proper fringe benefits and seniority. He is also asking to be awarded actual, exemplary and punitive damages.
Attorney Gregg M. Rosenberg of Rosenberg & Sprovach in Houston is representing Sobalvarro.
Harris County District Court Case No. 2010-73600.
This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the Harris County Courthouse. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it only represents one side of the story.