A Berks County resident is suing a Wisconsin-based business in Pennsylvania, alleging unlawful termination following her critical accident and recovery period in 2012.

Denisse Duran Vengoechea of Hill Church sued Gardner Denver Inc. of Milwaukee, Wis., in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Sept. 15, claiming employment law violation when it allegedly fired her without proper engagement or lawful documentation in October 2012.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff’s car was struck by an semitrailer on or about Jan. 26, 2012, just a few months after she was hired as a full-time employee by the defendant at its Wayne, Pa. facility. 

Vengoechea asserts that following her recuperation and return to work in April 2012, she was dismissed Oct. 1, 2012, because “she had not met her ‘core responsibilities,’ despite the fact that she had never received documentation regarding … performance-related issues.”

The suit states that Gardner Denver discriminated against Vengoechea in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, and—alleging that she was also a target of age discrimination, being among the oldest employees at the age of 46 at the time—the Age Discrimination in Employment Act when it purportedly discharged her without legitimate reasons.

Vengoechea alleges that her employer made comments about “losing the cane” she used during recovery to avoid the appearance of disability, as well as age-related remarks. She claims lost wages, earning capacity and enjoyment of life, pain, suffering, humiliation and anguish.

The plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive action, compensatory, punitive and liquidated damages of more than $75,000, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorneys’ and expert witness fees, and court costs. The plaintiff is represented by Caren Gurmankin and Stephen G. Console of the Console Law Offices in Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania 5:15-cv-05150-JFL

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