Forklift operator alleges age, disability discrimination

Kasey Schefflin-Emrich Aug. 13, 2015, 1:31pm


An Allison Park man is suing a precision springs designer and manufacturer, alleging his age and disability were the reasons he was terminated from his job.

Joe Mclean filed a lawsuit July 23 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against Diamond Wire Spring Co., alleging violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and The Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to the complaint, Mclean, who is older than 40, began working for the defendant as a fork lift operator in December 2007. He was diagnosed with osteoarthritis several years into his employment with the defendant providing him with time off to treat the condition, the lawsuit says.

The suit states Mclean started being harassed and discriminated against because of his age and disabilities in August-September 2012 after a new plant manager was hired. The plant manager, who was younger than Mclean, was verbally abusive toward him and allowed a co-worker to harass him as well, the lawsuit says.

When Mclean complained of the hostile treatment, which he did on various occasions to different people, the suit says, the plant manager retaliated against him by first taking him off the forklift bid for two days and then permanently demoting him to a laborer position in November 2012 with a younger co-worker replacing him in his previous forklift position. Mclean contends when he told the plant manager he needed a seated forklift position to accommodate his disability, the manager was dismissive of his concerns and made fun of him being in pain.

The complaint says Mclean was suspended for five days with no reason and then learned by mail on Nov. 19 that he was terminated for allegedly walking out of the plant Nov. 1, 2012, and being a distraction. On that day, Mclean alleges he was complaining about the discrimination, and the defendant's owner told him he could leave work early.

Mclean alleges Diamond Wire favored its younger and non-disabled co-workers as they weren't disciplined for making errors on the job or violating company policies. The plaintiff says the defendant willfully and maliciously violated federal law.

Mclean seeks reinstatement, lost wages, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and court costs. He is represented by attorney Erik M. Yurkovich of Wexford.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case number: 2:15-cv-00954-CB.

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