A Black former termite inspector at a Lancaster company has settled a lawsuit he filed against his ex-employer in which he alleged his White boss “terrorized” him on the job because of his race and threatened she would kill him without anyone ever knowing how it happened.
A lawyer for plaintiff Troy Fontenette filed court papers on Sept. 28 with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael L. Stern stating that her client’s case was resolved against Clark Pest Control Inc., his former boss, Kathy Lowe, and Michael Clark, the company’s chief financial officer. No terms were divulged.
Fontenette also maintained he suffered gender discrimination and retaliation and that he was wrongfully fired in 2019 for complaining about his alleged disparate treatment.
The 58-year-old Palmdale resident alleged in his court papers that Lowe once told him, “I have guns, and I know how to use them.”
In their court papers, Clark Pest Control attorneys denied Fontenette’s allegations and said any actions taken against him were out of “business necessity.”
Clark Pest is a family-run business with family members in key positions, according to the plaintiff. Fontenette was hired as a termite inspector at the Lancaster location, where there were only two Black employees, the suit stated.
Lowe “terrorized” him with threats of physical violence that were ignored by other bosses at the company, the suit alleged. She once told the plaintiff, in the presence of another boss, “I will kill you, and no one will know how it happened,” the plaintiff claimed.
Lowe also told Fontenette, “I will drop kick you in the head,” the suit alleged.
Fontenette said he was in his office with a co-worker one day when Lowe walked in and began arguing with him.
“Suddenly, and without provocation, Lowe grabbed a three-inch metal rod used for termite treatment and, pounding it from one hand to the other hand like a police officer wielding a baton, she advanced on the plaintiff as if she was going to strike him with the rod,” the suit alleged.