A national food services company allegedly fired an employee when it discovered he planned to seek a much-needed kidney transplant. The employee’s lawsuit claims that the company engaged in disability discrimination by firing him three days after he told managers that his transplant application had received approval.
Although the employer claims that it fired the plaintiff only as part of a lay-off, the company apparently did not eliminate any other positions. The only other layoffs occurred four months earlier and just four employees lost their jobs. The employer also refused to consider this plaintiff for another position-despite his 10 years of experience with the company.
After losing his job, the plaintiff also forfeited his spot on the transplant list because he no longer had acceptable health insurance coverage. Due to his rare blood type, he already faced a long wait on the transplant list. The plaintiff will have to start that period all over again once he secures another spot in a different transplant program.
Because employers are usually aware of anti-discrimination laws, it can be very difficult to prove that unlawful discrimination motivated a particular decision. In many cases, other factors can serve as evidence. For example, unusual timing can be an indicator of disability discrimination. In the case of this lawsuit, the employer fired the plaintiff only three days after learning of his kidney problems. The fact that the large company only eliminated one position in the so-called layoff further suggests that management’s justification was not entirely genuine.
Experienced employment lawyers can uncover and assemble facts to peel away layers of pretext and expose unlawful discrimination.
Source: Fox News, “Lawsuit claims man lost his job due to medical condition,” Sept. 26, 2012