Posted: January 7, 2016
A New Jersey company is being sued for workplace discrimination by a woman who says she was discriminated against based on physical disabilities.
Quest Diagnostics fired the woman after she was forced to take time off work for various injuries and medical conditions.
Medical conditions force work restrictions
Michele Freeman filed her workplace discrimination lawsuit in Pennsylvania West District Court on July 17, 2015. In her complaint, Freeman states she was employed by Quest Diagnostics as a laboratory aide in 2009 and was promoted to laboratory assistant just a few months later. Her employment continued with Quest until 2013, when Freeman had to take a three-month FMLA leave to recovery from a wrist injury. When Freeman returned to her job, she claims she was denied a promotion to lab technician due to her injury. This denial came despite her doctor’s full medical clearance that allowed her to return to work without restrictions.
When Freeman developed a severe stomach disorder later that year, she claims she was stigmatized by her employer. She was required to report all restroom breaks to a co-worker and co-workers were asked to check on her in the restroom to see if that was where she actually went. According to Freeman, employees were even asked to check the waste bin to see if she had actually vomited – a symptom of her gastrointestinal condition.
Employee fired after gallbladder surgery
In December 2013, Freeman underwent gallbladder surgery and took a week off of work to recover. During her recovery period, the plaintiff states she was in regular contact with her employer and had voiced her intention to return to her post once her recovery period was completed. However, upon return to her job, Freeman learned she had been terminated.
Two weeks after the termination, Freeman asserts in her complaint that the company offered to reinstate her. However, Freeman would have to change her work schedule and continue to work for the supervisor that had treated her unfairly and with hostility in the past. She was also told she would receive a written warning regarding her medical leave and she would be placed on probation. Freeman did not agree to those terms and was constructively discharged by the company.
Freeman is now seeking damages from Quest Diagnostic, claiming the company terminated her employment unfairly based on her disability. She is seeking compensation for past and future lost wages and benefits, as well as compensatory, liquidated and punitive damages against Quest.
NJ disability discrimination lawyer
People with disabilities belong to the largest minority group in the world, according to Disabled World. Physical disability is defined as “when a person’s physical functioning, mobility, dexterity, or stamina is limited.” According to the Americans with Disability Act, disability discrimination occurs when an employer “treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or applicant unfavorably because she has a disability.” Workers with disabilities are entitled under the law to be given reasonable accommodation for their disability as well, as long as the accommodation does not result in excessive cost or difficulty for the employer.
If you believe you have been treated unfairly on the job due to a disability, you may eligible to file a workplace disability discrimination lawsuit. The attorneys at Eisbrouch Marsh work with victims of such discrimination every day, helping them find their voice in a workplace that has not given them a fair shake.
Call our office now at 201-342-5545 to discuss your options and get a free evaluation of your case.
- Pennsylvania Record, Former Employee Sues Quest Diagnostics, Alleging Disability Discrimination, http://pennrecord.com/stories/510634032-former-employee-sues-quest-diagnostics-alleging-disability-discrimination
- Pacer Monitor, Freeman v. Quest Diagnostics, Inc., https://www.pacermonitor.com/public/case/8743937/FREEMAN_v_QUEST_DIAGNOSTICS,_INC
- Quest Diagnostics, About Our Company, http://www.questdiagnostics.com/home/about
- Disabled World, Disability Statistics: Facts and Statistics on Disabilities and Disability Issues, http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/statistics/
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Disability Discrimination, http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm