Former electrical worker sues over job termination

Jon Campisi Aug. 4, 2011, 11:12am

A tradesman who claims he was demoted after returning to his job from medical leave for substance treatment is suing his former employer claiming wrongful termination.

Philadelphia attorneys Edith A. Pearce and Rebecca L. Thomas, of the Pearce Law Firm, filed the federal employment discrimination lawsuit Aug. 2 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Kevin Farrell of Green Lane, Pa.

Named as defendants in the complaint are Broomall, Pa.-based Brother’s Electrical Contractors of Pennsylvania, Inc. and Brother’s Security Plus, Inc.

According to the lawsuit, Farrell began working with the defendants back in September 1991. His first position was that of a “helper.”

Farrell was promoted several times throughout his career, and held positions such as assistant manager and manager.

On June 29, 2009, Farrell was granted a leave of absence from work to be treated for “dependency,” the lawsuit states. It does not say specifically what type of substance the plaintiff was treated for.

On Aug. 4, 2009, Farrell returned to work, the lawsuit says, at which time the defendants failed to reinstate him to his assistant manager position or similar ranking. Instead, Farrell was demoted to a field worker position.

Along with being demoted, Farrell was no longer given a gas or vehicle allowance, or use of a company car, as he had before his leave of absence, the suit claims.

“Subsequent to his return from approved medical leave, Plaintiff was also summarily denied open positions for assistant manager and manager to which he applied to September 22, 2009,” the lawsuit states. “These positions were not only open internally but were also posted externally.”

Farrell was terminated from his job on Feb. 7 of this year. The reason given for the termination by his superiors was “lack of work.”

At the time of his medical leave, Farrell was a salaried employee for more than 17 years, and as such was entitled to 12 weeks of federally approved medical leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, the lawsuit claims.

“The discriminatory actions taken against Plaintiff resulted in monetary damage as well as damage to his reputation, severe emotional distress, humiliation, depression and other emotional damages,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants’ conduct is so egregious, outrageous and intentional, that Plaintiff further seeks punitive damages.”

Farrell seeks declaratory and injunctive relief finding that the defendants’ practices are unlawful. He’s also seeking back pay, front pay, future lost wages, lost pay increases and pay incentives, compensation for damage to his reputation, emotional well-being and medical bills and expenses related to his physical and mental suffering, and attorney’s fees and related court costs.

Farrell demands a jury trial.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-04972-JD.

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