Former code enforcement officer sues Glenolden Borough for wrongful termination

Jon Campisi Dec. 27, 2011, 9:20am

A former code enforcement officer for Glenolden Borough, Pa. who alleges he was let go from his position because of discriminatory reasons has filed a complaint against the municipality in federal court.

Bensalem, Pa. attorney Ari R. Karpf filed the civil action Dec. 22 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Glenolden resident David Rich.

In addition to the borough, Rich’s former supervisor, Brian Hoover, is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

According to the complaint, Rich, who worked as a code enforcement officer for the borough for three years, was laid off from his job for what his supervisors contended were “budgetary” reasons in late December 2009, but for what Rich maintains were reasons related to his health.

Rich had informed his supervisors that he would have to work light duty because of physical injuries he sustained after an on-the-job accident – such as a torn rotator cuff and herniated discs – and borough officials didn’t take too kindly to his request for less work hours, according to the complaint.

After suffering the work-related injury in early July 2009, the suit states, Rich had to go on a three-month medical leave of absence, during which he was allegedly “continuously harassed” by Hoover, who threatened Rich and made fun of him for having to be out of work for so long.

Hoover also allegedly made derogatory statements about Rich costing the defendants too much money and that Rich wouldn’t be paid “thousands of dollars to sit on a couch,” the lawsuit states.

The defendants also allegedly made discriminatory comments about Rich to other borough employees, the suit claims.

In September 2009, Rich was given medical restrictions by his treating physician, the suit states, and the plaintiff returned to full duty work in early October.

After working less than a week in full-time capacity, Rich was given additional medical restrictions by his doctor, namely that he work only four hours per day.

Rich continued in this capacity until Dec. 31, the suit states. On that day, he was informed by Hoover that he was being laid off.

Despite the borough’s contention that Rich was being let go for budgetary reasons, the municipality ended up hiring someone else to replace Rich, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of violating the Family and Medical Leave Act, accusing the borough of terminating Rich for taking FMLA-qualifying absences.

Rich seeks front and back pay, unspecified punitive damages, equitable and legal relief and other court costs.

He has demanded a jury trial.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-07788.

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