Former Safelite Warehouse Employee Sues Company for Age, Disability Discrimination Related to Kidney Problems
April 11, 2011

Safelite has been sued by a former Florida warehouse facility employee, Jose Rabeiro, who alleges that the company discriminated against him based on both his age and a disability related to his need for dialysis treatments. The suit originally was filed in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court in Florida and has since been moved to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Rabeiro, 52, says he was employed by Safelite as a driver and warehouse worker from 2000 through May 2009, at which point he was released from the company. In the last three to four years of his employment, Rabeiro alleges that he was diagnosed with kidney failure and was required to attend dialysis treatments three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and that he began reporting to two new supervisors, Elvin Candelario and Jim Cavanagh, in February 2008, and that this is when his alleged problems began.

“Immediately upon becoming plaintiff’s supervisor, Candelario and Cavanagh began a campaign of harassment against plaintiff as a result of his condition and his age,” writes Rabeiro in his complaint.

He goes onto allege that in early 2009 the two “summoned [him] to their office and advised him that he was too old and too infirm to continue being responsible for the route to which he was assigned.”

Rabeiro claims his route was then given to “a much younger and non-handicapped/non-disabled employee,” and his supervisors began requiring him to work on Saturdays—a day he normally received dialysis.

“When plaintiff protested about having to work on Saturdays given his need for dialysis, he was told by Cavanagh that if [he] could not work Saturdays as assigned, [he] would have to be put on a part-time schedule,” writes Rabeiro’s counsel. “Defendant, therefore, not only failed to reasonably accommodate plaintiff’s dialysis treatments, it stripped him of the accommodation he previously had through his work schedule.”

Rabeiro goes on to claim that he complained to management about the alleged discrimination, and shortly after was terminated from his employment with the company on May 15, 2009, and was “replaced by an employee at least 20 years younger than him.”

The former Safelite employee is seeking “back pay, front pay, lost wages, interest, the value and/or economic impact of lost benefits, as well as compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney’s fees.”

The company has filed a response to the complaint and denies the age and disability discrimination allegations, and claims that Rabeiro “was disciplined on multiple occasions prior to the termination of his employment.”

In addition, Safelite alleges Rabeiro’s claims may be barred by several items, including the applicable statute of limitations, failure to exhaust his administrative remedies, the doctrine of waiver, estoppels and unclean hands, and a failure to mitigate his alleged damages.

Mediation in the case currently is scheduled for August 22 in Miami.

Safelite spokesperson Melina Metzger declined to comment on the case.

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