Woods Services faces complaint over firing of maintenance worker

Jon Campisi Apr. 5, 2012, 4:06pm

A 66-year-old Langhorne, Pa. man who claims he was unlawfully terminated from his job as a maintenance electrician at a Bucks County agency has filed a federal discrimination complaint against his former employer.

Philadelphia attorneys Sidney L. Gold and Neelima Vanguri filed the civil action March 28 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Michael Judson.

The defendant named in the lawsuit is Langhorne-based Woods Services Inc.

According to the complaint, Judson, who was first hired by Woods Services, a nonprofit organization that specializes in services for people with special needs, as a truck driver back in April 2005, was terminated from his job in late March of last year following an injury that he suffered while on the clock.

On Jan. 15, 2011, Judson slipped on an icy surface and tore his biceps, the lawsuit states. Following the injury, Judson sought medical attention, during which he was informed by his doctor that he would have to be placed on light duty at work and not lift anything heavier than 20 pounds.

The complaint states that Judson would have been able to perform the essential functions of his job even with these reasonable accommodations.

Nevertheless, the defendant proceeded to embark on a “campaign of discrimination against Plaintiff Judson based on his disability, and retaliated against Plaintiff Judson for requesting reasonable accommodation(s) therefrom and for filing a claim of workers’ compensation benefits, ultimately resulting in his unlawful termination,” the lawsuit states.

On March 14, 2011, the defendant instructed Judson to use his personal van and equipment for two work assignments due to the fact that the company vehicle was under repair.

Judson drove to his nearby home that same day to retrieve his personal ladder for use on one of the assignments, the suit states.

When he returned to work later that day, Judson was suspended for stopping at his house while on the clock.

The following day, Judson was “abruptly terminated,” allegedly for falsifying his time card and taking unauthorized work breaks.

“Plaintiff Judson believes and avers that the Defendant’s articulated reason for his termination was pretextual and that the Defendant actually terminated his employment based on his disability (separated biceps muscle), and in retaliation for requesting reasonable accommodation for said disability and for filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit accuses the company of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

The suit contains counts of wrongful discharge and retaliation.

Judson seeks to be compensated for lost wages and benefits. He also seeks punitive damages, damages for pain and suffering, inconvenience and mental anguish, attorney’s fees and other litigation costs.

A jury trial has been demanded.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-01556-PD. 

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