Former Safelite Employee Sues Company over Alleged Violations of Family Medical Leave Act
May 17, 2013

by Jenna Reed,

A former Safelite AutoGlass employee based in Livonia, Mich., has sued the company, alleging violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The suit was filed in the Eastern District Court of Michigan.

Ernest Bishop, a former Safelite technician, claims that in 2009, he was diagnosed with diabetes. Later that year, he claims he developed diabetic neuropathy and was off work for treatment, according to the court documents.

"Plaintiff was required to take medical leave in the summer of 2011 for approximately eight days because the neuropathy was affecting the nerves in his leg, and he was having problems walking," attorneys write in the court documents.

In early December 2011, an ambulance was called for Bishop while he was at work and he was taken to the hospital, his attorneys claim.

"Bishop continued to seek medical treatment in December 2011, attempting to find out what was wrong with his heart," according to court documents. "… He returned to work in or about the end of January 2012."

In late February, his doctor put him on work restrictions of "no lifting, pushing or pulling of more than 20 pounds," his attorneys allege.

"At the end of February 2012, going into early March 2012, there were discussions regarding plaintiff Ernest Bishop being able to come back to work and what, if anything, the defendant could do to accommodate his restrictions and disability," according to court documents.

"On or about March 22, 2012, plaintiff was informed by Ken Savage, the head of the defendant's human resource department in Michigan, that he could return to work," the court documents state.

When Bishop returned to work on March 24, his attorneys allege he was told by the local manager that the position he had been brought back to was only temporary and that he "needed either to think about changing his occupation or going back to school."

The attorneys further allege in the court documents that, "[Sean] Riordan [general manager] spoke very discouragingly about the plaintiff.

"On or about March 27, 2012, the plaintiff was informed by Ken Savage that the plaintiff working and the attempts to accommodate him were not working," according to a copy of the lawsuit. "The plaintiff was informed by [someone] in human resources that his employment with Safelite was done and that he should go home. Plaintiff was told and/or required by Safelite to apply for disability."

On Bishop's termination papers, the company wrote, "failure to return from FMLA," the attorneys allege.

Bishop's attorneys go on to claim that "after he returned from his FMLA leaves, plaintiff remained ready, willing and able to work with the restrictions suggested by his doctors."

They also claim, "The requested accommodation that plaintiff not be required to lift more than 25 pounds was an accommodation which the defendant could honor."

His attorneys allege, "It is more plausible than not that plaintiff's termination was in violation of the FMLA and the purported reason for his termination was pretextual."

Bishops attorneys are seeking damages, including lost wages, lost benefits, emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation, as well as attorneys' fees and costs. They are demanding a trial by jury.

Furthermore, the attorneys argue, that the "defendant's termination of plaintiff's employment, based upon either his actual disability, or the defendant's perception that the plaintiff was disabled, was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act."

Attorneys are also seeking damages for this.

At press time, Safelite had not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.

"We cannot comment on pending litigation," says Melina Metzger, PR manager.

This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
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