Lawsuit accuses boss of putting obscenity on worker’s computer
BY LISA DONOVAN Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org April 24, 2012 7:42PM
Updated: May 26, 2012 8:22AM
Miaoguang Jin alleges he suffered plenty of indignities during the six months he worked in the Chicago headquarters of a national facilities maintenance firm, including his boss gaining access to Jin’s computer to draw a big “F--- you” on his screen — and inviting the office to have a look and a laugh.
That’s according to a lawsuit Jin filed Tuesday against one-time employer SMS Assist L.L.C., which is based in the Hancock Building on Michigan Avenue, his boss Jianqing Zhao, the company’s Chief Information Officer, and Zhao’s wife, Bixia Xue, who also works for the firm.
Hired as a $75,000-a-year project manager in October 2011, Jin, originally from China, said Zhao mocked his English and used the “drawing feature of the computer to draw a big “F--- You” … [that] showed up on Jin’s computer.”
“Jin could not clear such words from his computer, because Zhao had taken control of Jin’s [c]omputer,” the suit states. “Zhao then informed other employees of SMS to take a look at what Zhao had achieved at Jin’s computer.”
Jin says the long work days — he claims he racked up 500 hours of overtime during his short stint at the firm — caused him headaches and that he fell asleep at a meeting, according to the suit. By March of this year, Zhao was questioning Jin’s performance and Zhao assigned his now wife — also a company employee — to keep an eye on Jin, according to the suit.
Weeks later, Jin was asked to work part-time and when he refused, he was shown the door, the suit states.
Now he’s suing the company, his boss and boss’s wife on the grounds of fraud, discrimination and violation of workplace policies involving etiquette and overtime compensation. He’s seeking damages ranging from $37,000 to $75,000.
Reached Tuesday afternoon, Zhao denied the allegations.
“I hired him, and first of all he didn’t perform his job, and he took a nap during work all the time,” Zhao said. “And he ate sunflower seeds all the time in the office, and he’d listen to non-work related music all the time.”
A spokesperson for SMS offered a statement Tuesday night: “We cannot comment on the specifics of the lawsuit at this time, since we have not had an opportunity to fully review the claims. However we can tell you that SMS Assist is committed to treating its employees fairly and has demonstrated a strong culture of respect, integrity and humility.”