Pennsylvania Record

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Judge allows ex-exployee's claim of retaliation against Purolite to continue

Federal Court

By Marian Johns | Sep 25, 2019

PHILADELPHIA – A federal judge has allowed a former employee's lawsuit against a Philadelphia chemical manufacturing company to continue.

According to the Sept. 9 U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania filing, Purolite Corporation requested summary judgment in a case filed against it by Carlos Gonzales. Gonzales alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII, Workers' Compensation and the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act (PHRA), claiming retaliation. 

Gonzales, who injured his back while running a resin mixer in July of 2015, said in the lawsuit that because of his Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) request due to his injury, along with several workplace complaints he made, that his job was terminated as retaliation. According to the suit, among Gonzales' claims were that employees used the "n" word and that there was inconsistency in Purolite's promotion polices. 

"Over the course of his employment with Defendant, Plaintiff met with human resources and his supervisors to voice complaints regarding various workplace issues," Judge Petrese Tucker said in the District Court's decision. "Plaintiff also made formal complaints to several government agencies."

The timing of Gonzales' firing, Tucker wrote, went a long way toward meeting his mandate of showing a connection between his request and his termination.

"This timeline is undisputed – Plaintiff requested accommodation on July 8, 2015, and Defendant terminated Plaintiff’s employment on July 16, 2015," Tucker wrote. "The temporal proximity to Plaintiff’s filing of his workers’ compensation claim and his termination is unusually suggestive and can support an inference of a retaliatory motive." 

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