Mathew Howcroft, a former technician trainee with Safelite AutoGlass in Charlotte, N.C. has filed a complaint against the company in the U.S. District Court of North Carolina, Statesville division, claiming, “the termination of plaintiff from his position was in violation of the public policy in the State of North Carolina, specifically, the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act … which makes discrimination on account of disability of an otherwise qualified individual an unlawful employment practice.” The plaintiff has had the three middle fingers on his left hand amputated.
Howcraft claims he was employed by Safelite AutoGlass from May 6, 2013 to June 6, 2013.
“On or about May 6, 2013, the defendants provided plaintiff with uniforms, aprons and gloves. When the plaintiff received his gloves, he informed Frank Puvak, national trainer for the defendants, that his gloves did not fit because his left three middle fingers were amputated. The plaintiff also informed Brandon Thompson, supervisor for the defendants, who was handing out the equipment to plaintiff and the other technician trainees,” Howcraft’s attorney claims in court documents.
“Since on or about May 6, 2013 and continuing, the plaintiff has been denied the reasonable accommodation of gloves that fit by the defendants and the defendants have never provided him with gloves that fit due to his disability,” the attorney alleges.
“The plaintiff had his own [Glass] Mechanix gloves to wear, but they were not approved by the defendants as safety gloves and the plaintiff was not allowed to wear them,” the attorney claims.
Howcraft claims his supervisors took off points on weekly review cards because he did not wear the gloves provided.
“The plaintiff was not able to wear the gloves defendants issued him because he did not want the gloves to get caught on equipment since there was a gap in the three fingers the plaintiff was missing,” his attorney claims.
Despite the disability, Howcraft claims he was able to perform all the “essential functions of his job with reasonable accommodations.”
“On Tuesday, June 4, 2013, Puvak told plaintiff at approximately noon that the plaintiff had passed his certification test with flying colors. … On Wednesday, June 5, 2013, plaintiff was changing out a windshield on a customer’s vehicle and while plaintiff was ‘running’ urethane with his left hand, some glue inadvertently touched the vehicle’s paint, which plaintiff was able to remove.”
On June 6, 2013, Howcraft claims his supervisors said he “was not a good fit for the job and terminated plaintiff’s employment.”
Howcraft is asking the court for a trial by jury. He is looking to be awarded compensatory and punitive damages of more than $10 million.
He has also asked the court “that the defendants be ordered to implement procedures and policies to prevent illegal discriminatory activities and that defendants be enjoined from committing further violations of Americans with Disabilities Act and North Carolina law.”
The judge has granted Safelite’s attorneys an extension in responding to the complaint.
No other court decisions have been issued at press time.