Trucker driver accuses employer of disability discrimination, retaliatory discharge

By Ashley Perry | Nov 20, 2014

A truck driver is suing his former employer, claiming he was fired over a knee problem.

Earl Jones filed a complaint Nov. 12 in Cook County Circuit Court against Midwest Food Manufacturing Inc., alleging disability discrimination and retaliatory discharge.

According to the complaint, Jones began working as a truck driver in 2009 and was injured in September 2012, when a cart fell on him and led to headaches, back pain, and leg pain, the suit states.He went to the emergency room after the incident and the next day, saw his internist, who did not release him to return to work until Oct. 12, 2012.

Jones alleges he was then diagnosed with a meniscus tear of the knee, lumbar strain, wrist sprain and contusion of the shoulder and upper arm on Oct. 11, when it was recommended he could return to work, but with restrictions, such as to not lift more than 10 pounds, avoid prolonged standing and wear a brace, among others.

The suit says Jones returned to work Oct, 12, 2012 and was allowed to work within those restrictions for two days, but was instructed to return to his normal duties on the third day. Jones claims he followed his supervisor's direction and began suffering from pain in his knee, back and shoulder, leading him to take some time off.

Between Oct. 16 and December 2012, Jones says he spoke with one of his managers several times regarding his medical treatment, progress and his inability to return to work. He then directed his manager to contact his workers' compensation attorney for more information regarding his knee condition and the need for surgery.

Jones believed that since he was receiving workers' comp benefits and was approved to return to work, he could go back to work in March 2013 following his surgery. When he called his supervisor on March 11, 2013 to say he could return, Jones says he was told he had been terminated.

Jones is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, as well as punitive damages and costs. He is represented by Mitchell A. Kline of the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court case number: 2014L011744.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at Cook County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt and it represents only one side of the story.

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