A worker who suffers from epilepsy claims he was fired from his
manufacturing job a mere week after his hiring, asserting in a civil action that his termination violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
Julio Hernandez, who resides in Wilkes Barre, Pa., filed a complaint Jan. 7 at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia against CTI Inc., a business based in King of Prussia, Montgomery County, over allegations that the defendant violated both state and federal law when it fired the plaintiff from his job on Oct. 16, 2012, eight days after he was hired to work on the assembly line.
The plaintiff, whose job duties included reaching and lifting prepared food products off of a conveyor belt and then packaging the items, suffered a seizure while at work on Oct. 15, 2012, an episode that required him to seek medical attention, according to the lawsuit.
Hernandez, who was first diagnosed with epilepsy back in 1991, was cleared by his doctor to return to work the very same day that he suffered the seizure.
He says he was fired the very next day, before he could even provide the defendant with his physician’s note regarding his ability to work with restrictions.
According to the complaint, the company told Hernandez he was being terminated because of a fear that the plaintiff would injure himself at work due to his seizures.
The plaintiff, the suit says, objected to the defendant’s assumption that his disability caused any risk to his health or the health of those around him.
“Plaintiff immediately notified Defendant of his physician’s note clearing him to return to work without restriction, and his desire to return to his position,” the complaint reads. “Defendant nonetheless refused to discuss the matter with Plaintiff (let alone engage in an interactive process with Plaintiff).
Hernandez alleges the company violated both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act when it fired him specifically because he suffered from disability.
The plaintiff seeks an injunction barring the defendant from continuing its “illegal policy, practice, or custom” of discriminating against employees or prospective employees based on their disabilities.
He also seeks to be compensated for lost and future earnings and benefits.
Additionally, Hernandez seeks unspecified punitive damages for what he calls the defendant’s “willful, deliberate, malicious and outrageous conduct,” and damages for emotional distress and pain and suffering.
The plaintiff is being represented by attorneys Manali Arora and Richard Swartz of the Cherry Hill, N.J. firm Swartz Swidler.
The federal case number is 2:14-cv-00040-LFR.