Posts Tagged ‘light duty’
It is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act to terminate or refuse to consider an employee for a position based upon their disability or based upon a perceived disability. Robert Bush recovered a large jury verdict where his employer treated him differently based upon his heart condition.
A federal jury has awarded a Gillette man $1.2 million in damages in his wrongful termination lawsuit against a heavy-equipment dealer.
The jury found last week that Casper-based Wyoming Machinery Co. violated the Americans with Disabilities Act in terminating Robert G. Bush after he underwent open-heart surgery.
According to a pretrial memorandum filed on behalf of Bush, he began employment with Wyoming Machinery on Sept. 1, 1999, as a tube technician and later as a mechanic working on heavy equipment, including haul trucks at coal mines in Campbell County.
Bush underwent open-heart surgery in October 2006 and was told by his physician not to work for six months and to work only “light duty” when he returned to his job.
The company considered Bush disabled and placed him on long-term disability, according to court records.
Bush returned to work in April 2007 as a heavy-equipment mechanic. But, on the second day back on the job, he suffered what he characterized as a mild heart attack, and he returned to long-term disability.
In August 2007, Bush was contacted about a site coordinator position open at the North Antelope mine. He was 51 years old at the time. He didn’t get that position and wasn’t notified about an opening at another mine that went to a younger, less-qualified employee, the court records said.
Bush was qualified and physically able to handle the site coordinator position, according to the lawsuit.
The company contended the person who got the job had better computer skills than Bush.
Bush was terminated July 15, 2008, based on company policy that an employee cannot be absent from work for more than six months. He had been absent from work for about 21 months with the exception of two days he worked in April 2007, company attorneys wrote.
Wyoming Machinery Co. also said Bush did not suffer a mild attack after he returned to work but had only a muscle problem. And it argued that Bush’s physician never told him that he needed to take time off work to recuperate. The company paid Bush $19,000 in disability benefits before he was terminated.
If you believe you have been the subject of discrimination based upon a disability, feel free to consult with Scott M. Behren and the Behren Law Firm to learn your legal rights.