Whemco Steel Castings sued by crane operator over alleged age discrimination

By Gene Johnson | Dec 10, 2015

PITTSBURGH – A man is suing a Homestead-based casting company claiming he was laid off due to his disability and age and replaced with a younger worker.

Doug Ireland filed a lawsuit on Nov. 18 against Whemco Steel Castings in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania citing a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to the complaint, Ireland, 45, has worked as a crane operator since 2005 when in November 2012 he had a pacemaker implanted in his heart. He also has bipolar disorder, according to the lawsuit. After returning to work in Oct. 24, 2013, he was allegedly told by management that he needed to have an exam taken by company’s doctor in order to be clear to run the crane.

In December 2013, he was diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having depression and bipolar disorder, the complaint states. On Aug. 8, 2014, Ireland allegedly suffered a torn ligament in his ankle at home before reporting to work. After numerous treatments, plaintiff was cleared to return to work by his physician on Nov. 17, 2014, the complaint states.

On Nov. 18, 2014, he was told by management that he was laid off due to lack of work, the claim states. On May 21, Ireland says he went to work to vote for a union that the employees were attempting to join. In the parking lot he claims he spoke with another crane worker and was told that a new crane operator who has taken his place and that he is younger than 30 years old.

As of filing, Ireland claims, has not yet been called back to work, nor has he been fired. He is seeking loss of wages in excess of $30,800 and front pay as deemed appropriate by the court.

Ireland is being represented by Sean L. Ruppert of Kraemer, Manes and Associates LLC in Pittsburgh.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania Case number 2:15-cv-01512-JFC

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