A Philadelphia woman who worked for nearly four years as a receptionist at
ITT Technical Institute in Bucks County is suing her former employer over allegations that she was fired in violation of the American Disabilities Act.
Jasmia Brooks claims in her civil action, filed in U.S. District Court on March 6, that she was terminated from her job on May 16, 2012, nearly four years after her hiring, because she needed to take time off of work to undergo bariatric surgery due to her obesity.
The company told the plaintiff she was being laid off because it was downsizing its workforce, but Brooks claims she was actually fired from her job because of her disability and in retaliation for exercising her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
According to the lawsuit, Brooks informed the defendant in January 2012 that she planned to undergo the bariatric surgery to treat her obesity, which is recognized as a physical disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Brooks was then instructed to complete the required paperwork necessary to enable her to take a brief medical leave of absence.
The plaintiff commenced FMLA leave in late April 2012 and underwent the surgery on May 2 of that year, the record shows.
She says she received a termination letter on May 16, 2012, despite the fact that she was scheduled to return to her job on June 6 of that year.
“Curiously, upon information and belief, the Defendant hired a non-disabled temporary worker to fill Plaintiff Brooks’ position,” the complaint reads.
The defendant is accused of violating both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
Brooks claims she sustained a loss of earnings, benefits, plus future earning power as a result of the defendant’s alleged actions.
She seeks compensatory damages, as well as damages for pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish and loss of life’s enjoyment.
Brooks is being represented by Philadelphia attorney Sidney L. Gold.
The federal case number is 2:14-cv-01363-GP.