Lawsuit Claims Michael Vackar, Houston Salesman, Fired For Refusing To Take Clients To Strip Clubs [Update With Legal Rulings for Company]

Mike Vackar
UPDATE: On July 8, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Lee Rosenthal granted Superior Supply & Steel's motion for summary judgment dismissing the wrongful termination claim of Michael Vackar and, on January 2, 2014, ruled in Superior's favor on counterclaims against Vackar that included fraud and defamation, according to court papers. The court stated in its January 2nd decision that Vackar's allegations against his supervisor and the company were groundless and that, contrary to statements from Vackar, "there are no witnesses who support Vackar's version of events."

Original article:

Employers often go to great lengths to woo clients, treating them to lavish dinners and the best seats to major sporting and theatrical events. But how many would demand an employee take clients to strip clubs and procure sexual favors -- and fire the worker for refusing?

That's what salesman Michael Vackar (pictured above on his Facebook page) claims happened soon after he joined a Houston-branch of Superior Supply & Steel. In his recently filed wrongful-termination lawsuit, as reported by Houston TV station KTRK, Vackar says that his boss insisted that he take clients to strip clubs and procure prostitutes for them, and when Vackar refused he was fired. (Vackar did not respond to AOL Jobs' requests for an interview.)

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Superior Supply manager Bill Kotcher allegedly even hinted at using the strip club outings to entrap clients. "Once you bring a customer to a place that has cameras, you have a customer for life," Kotcher told Vackar, according to the lawsuit. "Once you get a man on camera and you can get a copy of that, you can rest assured that he's going to be fearful if he doesn't remain your customer or become your customer."

The salesman says that he refused, telling his boss that his clients "are family men, and it's not right."

Vackar, who has 30 years' experience selling steel, says that only weeks after he began the job, he was urged to take his clients to Houston strip clubs and arrange for them to receive sexual favors, reports Courthouse News Service.

Vackar alleges that Kotcher wanted him to do whatever was necessary to make sure the clients enjoyed themselves at the clubs. "I don't want you coming in here with $1,000 receipts from strip clubs, but you gotta do what you gotta do," Vackar alleges Kotcher told him.

Superior Supply flatly denied the charges, telling the Houston Press via email that the "lawsuit is meritless." The company's attorney, Barry Golden, wrote, "The individual making these false allegations was terminated previously by Superior Supply & Steel for misconduct, and his filing of a frivolous lawsuit appears to be an act of retaliation."

According to John Ghezzi, Vackar's attorney, the salesman was told that he was let go for falsifying expense reports -- but that was "a smokescreen." Ghezzi says that two of his client's co-workers overhead the supervisor's conversations with Vackar.

Still, legal analysts described Vackar's case as difficult to prove, and noted that Texas is an "at will" employee state. "You can quit whenever you want. Conversely, I can fire you for any reason," attorney Christ Tritico told Houston radio station KTRH.

Though after-hours fraternizing at strip clubs isn't illegal, it can get employers into legal hot water if business is being conducted there and female co-workers are excluded. Morgan Stanley paid out $54 million in 2004 to some of its female employees who had complained they'd been excluded from a client meeting held at a strip club.

Complaints by male employees against outings to strip clubs is extremely rare, although earlier this year, a male administrator at a Maine hospital filed suit, claiming that he'd been retaliated against when he complained about staff outings to strip clubs during an annual conference. The hospital claimed that the supervising doctors responsible for the trip were disciplined and barred from returning to the strip club at future conferences.

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"Stanley paid out $54 million in 2004 to some of its female employees who had complained they'd been excluded from a client meeting held at a strip club"

- this is why companies hate hiring upper management / higher salary women. Too many risks, threats of nonsensical lawsuits for a plethora of frivolous reasons.

December 12 2012 at 5:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

good for him, hope the company goes under in the next 30 days and that boss finds himself in the soup line.

December 05 2012 at 10:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hello Jay

its done all the time. I've been apart of it myself.

December 05 2012 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Rose

Do you think he was any good as a sales person ,,, check his numbers . most likely he didnt even cover his own pay

December 05 2012 at 7:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

i'm an ex of a serial strip-club-aholic in houston (not to mention a few of "our" friends. there is one on every corner. i think we are second to . . . like tiawan, or something. montreal . . . where all the wanna-be-hockey-out-of-place-engineers that came in the 80's does a thriving business with our "men." you should hear the story my ex gave as to what "actually" happened when i told him i had been counting that 100 box of condoms he bought "as a joke" on line. ummmm hmmmmm. he traveled the city all day, every day. lined up his "guys" (illegals) and headed for servicing. gross. after 20 years, that alone was enough to gross me out of ever even considering getting back together. . . . it's also so lucrative here, they have 18 y/o high schoolers starting their lives "on these cameras." all for the money . . . that, in divorce court, we didn't have. uh huh. again, ewwwwwww.

December 05 2012 at 5:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Every present and potential customer of this steel company will hear of this, and their business is going to suffer tremendously. And if a single customer has been threatened with video of their activities at a strip club during an outing with this company's sales staff, it's over. Just one coming forward will do it. Going to be an interesting case to follow. The manager, Kotcher, who fired this guy might have just destroyed this company with his stupidity.

December 05 2012 at 4:49 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

It's got to be tough to explain to the lovely missus how you got glitter and perfume on your clothes at a business meeting.

December 05 2012 at 3:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I see that you have allowed LL to post again. As an attorney, I have checked into LL's claims and they are a fraud and a scam. Why would you want your faithful commenters to have to deal with this sh..?

December 05 2012 at 2:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

He cannot be fired for his refusal to seek prostitutes for his clients. Except in only a few places prostitution is illegal in the US. Therefore his supervisor is making him commit an unlawful act. Additionally, strip clubs are fine for those that enjoy them. Clients can go on their own if they wish.

L. Thompson, Esq

December 05 2012 at 2:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Dude, its naked women, and guess what, you won't be takin any of them home either.

December 05 2012 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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