Man who suffered heart attack alleges wrongful termination

Dan Harkins Jun. 18, 2015, 2:46pm


A Philadelphia man who says he lost his job after suffering a heart attack is suing for wrongful termination.

James Schneider filed a complaint June 5 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Philadelphia Gas Works, alleging disability discrimination.

According to the complaint, Schneider, 44, worked for the defendant July 16, 2003, to May 13, 2014, when he believes he was unlawfully terminated. The suit says on Oct. 7, 2013, Schneider suffered a heart attack and underwent stent surgery, and two days later, he contacted his supervisor to tell him that he'd need a leave of absence.

In the ensuing months, the lawsuit states, he was unable to provide the defendant with a definite date when he could return to work but on Dec. 5, 2013, Schneider met with his cardiologist and again asked for additional time off for his disability, specifically, "cardiac artery disease."

On April 24, 2014, he received a letter from the defendant that asked for an update on his prognosis and diagnosis and possible return to work date. At that point, the lawsuit states, the company terminated his employment, saying "there are no options available for you because [Schneider's doctor] will not allow you to come back to your job due to the stressful nature of the position." He was told that his termination letter was coming in the mail.

According to the lawsuit, Schneider "believes the defendant's articulated reason for the termination of his employment was pre-textual and that the defendant actually terminated his position of employment due to his actual and/or perceived disability and/or record of impairment and/or in retaliation for plaintiff Schneider requesting reasonable accommodations."

Schneider seeks unspecified damages, plus costs. He is represented by attorney Sidney L. Gold of Sidney L. Gold and Associates in Philadelphia. 

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number 2:15-cv-03129-PBT.

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