Pennsylvania Record

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Synthes sued by fired employee who says he was discriminated against due to narcolepsy

By Jon Campisi | Feb 19, 2014

A Pennsylvania man is suing West Chester, Pa.-based Synthes Inc. over allegations that the company intentionally switched up his work schedule despite the fact that it knew he required consistency due to a severe sleeping condition.

Maurice E. Kelley, of Exton, Chester County, filed suit on Tuesday in federal court in Philadelphia claiming that Synthes violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it terminated his employment supposedly due to “progressive discipline” and “unsatisfactory work performance.”

The plaintiff, who suffers from sleep apnea and a form of narcolepsy, had elected to use leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act throughout 2012 to deal with his conditions, the complaint states.

Soon after returning from leave, the defendant changed his work schedule, despite the fact that the old schedule was more conducive to his narcolepsy, which causes difficult morning waking.

The company took this step despite the fact that the plaintiff’s doctor instructed him to maintain a consistent sleep regiment, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit claims that the change in schedule was calculated in order to “set up” Kelley to be late to work and make mistakes while on the job due to sleep deprivation.

Kelley was, in fact, subsequently written up for being late and making mistakes, which ultimately led to his dismissal in September 2012, the complaint states.

The lawsuit says that the defendant’s reasons for terminating Kelley were pretextual and “bogus.”

Synthes is accused of violating both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Kelley seeks to have the company enjoined from discriminating or retaliating against employees on any basis prohibited under state and federal law.

He also seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, along with litigation costs and legal fees.

Kelley is being represented by Bucks County attorney Timothy M. Kolman.


The federal case number is 2:14-cv-00953-CMR.

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