Longtime tobacco employee alleges unlawful termination

By Kasey Schefflin-Emrich | Oct 23, 2015

An Allentown man has cited his former employer for engaging in both disability and age discrimination.

Kenneth Smith filed a lawsuit Aug. 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Altria Group, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

According to the complaint, Smith had a 27-year career with the defendant and its predecessor Phillip Morris at the time he was wrongfully terminated in June 2013.

The suit states that Smith was accused of intentionally falsifying data, which he denied and explained that he was in an extremely agitated state of mind as his newborn grandson was suffering from life-threatening medical problems. Despite the defendant being aware of the situation with Smith's grandson, Smith accepting responsibility for the data errors even though he didn't remember making them, and the fact that Smith had no past record of dishonesty or falsifying work documents, he was nonetheless terminated.

Smith claims, in the lawsuit, he was terminated because of his association with someone with a disability as he informed the defendant about his grandson prior to being fired. He also alleges he was terminated because of his age at the time, 51, as he was treated less favorably than younger employees and was replaced by younger individuals. Additionally, Smith contends that those employees who were younger and weren't related to or associated with disabled people faced little to no disciplinary measures if they made mistakes.

Claiming that the defendant was willful and deliberate in its actions, Smith seeks reinstatement, compensatory damages, liquidated damages, punitive damages, attorney fees and costs of suit.

The plaintiff is being represented by attorney Richard L. Orloski of The Orloski Law Firm in Allentown.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number 5:15-cv-04697-LS

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