A Montgomery County man is suing his former employer, Children’s
Hospital of Philadelphia, over claims that he was fired soon after company officials learned that he would have to take time off of work to undergo back surgery.
Carl Lassiter, of Willow Grove, Pa., filed suit in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia late last week accusing the medical facility of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act when it fired him after nearly three decades of employment.
At the time of his 2012 firing, Lassiter, who began working for CHOP in the early 1980s when he was 33 years old, was suffering from a severe disc herniation in his lower back that required surgery, according to the complaint.
The injury, the suit says, substantially limited the plaintiff’s ability to walk, sit, drive, climb stairs and work in various job positions that required walking, sitting and standing.
Lassiter’s disability, the complaint alleges, was a motivating and/or determinative factor in the hospital’s decision to terminate him, the plaintiff claims in his lawsuit.
The plaintiff, who is black, also claims his termination was discriminatory in nature, and he says the hospital has yet to provide a “legitimate, non-discriminatory reason” for his termination.
The suit, however, shows that CHOP attributed the firing to Lassiter “not being at the top of [his] game.”
Lassiter, who was 62 at the time of his termination, worked various positions during the course of his career, including medical technologist and supervisor of lab services.
Throughout his career, the complaint says, Lassiter was a “loyal, dedicated, and hard-working employee.”
Lassiter previously sued the hospital for racial discrimination, with he and nine other employees claiming in their 2006 case that CHOP exhibited a pattern and practice of racial discrimination against black employees, the record shows.
Lassiter was promoted to assistant supervisor of central lab services as a result of that litigation.
It was in late 2011 that the plaintiff informed his employer of the disability stemming from his back injury, the current lawsuit states.
Lassiter decided to opt for surgery after physical therapy failed to alleviate his severe pain.
He took two days off from work in early March 2012 for treatment related to his injury, the complaint states.
The firing occurred mere days after his return.
Lassiter says as a result of the defendant’s actions, he incurred earnings and benefits losses, and suffered embarrassment, humiliation, mental anguish, and a loss of life’s pleasures.
In addition to declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, Lassiter seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory damages relating to past and future earnings losses, punitive damages, litigation costs and other legal relief.
The plaintiff is being represented by Philadelphia attorneys Stephen G. Console and Rahul Munshi.
The federal case number is 2:14-cv-01037-TON.