Suit: Tire change request erupts into assault, termination

By Jim Boyle | Dec 1, 2014

A former technician at a Delaware County auto service center says that his supervisor assaulted him after he refused to change a tire because he was still recovering from a surgery, according to a suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

John Lippre, of Upper Chichester, Pa., seeks compensatory damages in the form of back pay and benefits, front pay and overtime against the Goodyear Auto Service Center in Clifton Heights, Pa., claiming the company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act when it terminated his employment following the altercation.

According to the complaint, Lippre worked for more than 20 years at the center as an auto technician, eventually developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in both arms. As a result of the condition, Lippre underwent surgery in April 2013, returning to work shortly after with modified work duties.

The claim says in August 2013 that his supervisor, Nick Biondy, directed Lippre to perform a tire change, a low-skill task usually reserved to newer employees and trainees. When Lippre reminded his boss that work modifications and persistent pain from the surgery prevented him from performing the task, Biondy allegedly yelled profanities at the plaintiff and mocked him. The confrontation turned physical when Biondy allegedly began to strike Lippre about the head and threw him to the floor, injuring his shoulder, the claim says.

Following an investigation by the store manager, Lippre was fired while Biondy did not receive any disciplinary action, the complaint says. According to the claim, Lippre maintained a positive work record during his tenure, while Biondy had been previously sued for discriminatory conduct. The plaintiff claims that the termination was in retaliation for filing for Workers Compensation after the surgery and need for modified duties, violations of the ADA and PHRA.

The plaintiff is represented by Shelly Farber of Farber and Farber Law Offices in Broomall, Pa.

The federal case ID is 2:14-cv-06744-GP.

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