Jim Boyle Sep. 15, 2014, 6:56am


A Northampton County man says 36-year employment with Georgia Pacific unlawfully

ended in 2012 when his managers violated the American with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act by firing him for needing surgery to heal a work-related injury, according to a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

David Crocker, of Easton, Pa., seeks damages in excess of $50,000 for violations of the ADA, ADEA and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Crocker also says that his termination was in retaliation for his asserting his rights under the ADEA.

According to the complaint, Crocker injured himself on the job on Oct. 2, 2012. After receiving x-rays, his doctor gave him two options, wear a brace or have knee replacement surgery performed. Fearing the brace would not work, Crocker scheduled the surgery.

The suit says that the plaintiff informed his supervisor that the surgery would keep him out of work for the next three to six months. On Oct. 17, 2012, the plant manager phoned Crocker and told him to report the next day to conclude an unrelated work issue. When he arrived on Oct. 18, Crocker was told his employment with Georgia Pacific was terminated. Crocker began working for the company in 1976 and worked his way up to maintenance supervisor.

Court documents say that the reason given for the termination regarded an earlier incident with another employee. The complaint states if that were the case, Crocker would have been fired in August, when the undescribed incident occurred.

The plaintiff also seeks injunctive relief to prevent Georgia Pacific from allegedly continuing to discriminate against him, plus rehiring him to his previous or equivalent position. Crocker also wants compensation for lost wages and benefits from the moment of his termination.

Crocker is represented by Donald Russo in Bethelehem, Pa.

The federal case ID number is 5:14-cv-05201-GAM.

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