An employee of a New Jersey truck company, who was fired from his job due to sleep apnea, will receive $30,000 from his employer. Officials stated the company, P. Judge & Sons, should have reinstated the worker after his doctor said the man could return to his job. The employee had worked as a yard switcher since 2014 in the company’s Port Newark location. His job duties included vehicle inspection, yard maintenance, and emptying trailers and containers. The employee was fired because of his sleep apnea in 2015, which was when the lawsuit was initially filed.
Those suffering from sleep apnea stop breathing while they are asleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep in those with sleep apnea. Symptoms include loud snoring, difficulty breathing while asleep, waking up with a headache, feeling sleepy during the day, irritability, and experiencing issues of paying attention when awake. Complications of sleep apnea include:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular issues
- Type 2 diabetes
- Liver disorders
- Metabolic syndrome
People with sleep apnea may have additional problems with anesthesia and surgery. There is a danger that those with sleep apnea might fall asleep at the wheel, which was a factor in the company’s decision to fire the worker.
Employee Fired After Management Learned of Condition
The employee was fired after managers read articles about sleep apnea, and feared the worker posed a safety hazard. After his sleep apnea diagnosis, he was placed on medical leave. Doctors cleared him to return to work, with the proviso that he continue to undergo treatment. The company, however, would not reinstate the employee until he was through with treatment. The director of the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights later issued a statement noting that employers with no medical training cannot decide to terminate a worker based on things they read on the internet and anecdotes from people they know.
Other Company Complaints
The lawsuit filed by the employee with sleep apnea was not the only wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a P. Judge & Sons worker in 2015. Another lawsuit was filed by an African-American female night-shift manager who had asked for a promotion to be day-shift manager. She did not receive the promotion, and the company hired a white male for the job. In May 2015, she texted the new day-shift manager that she would be arriving late for work that night. Three weeks later, an upper management employee told the woman that someone had punched her time sheet when she was not present at work on May 20.
The plaintiff showed him the text message she had sent the day-shift manager, but the day-shift manager recommended her firing, and she was terminated. The plaintiff‘s complaint alleges that she was fired without warning, contravening the organization’s own policies. She also alleged that the day-shift manager did not treat employees of different races the same in disciplinary matters.
South Jersey Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Those Who Have Been Wrongfully Terminated
If you or a loved one has been a victim of wrongful termination by your employer, you need the services of the experienced South Jersey employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us today at 215-569-1999. With an office centrally located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Cherry Hill and throughout the South Jersey region.