Woman claims termination due to restrictions, sues for discrimination

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Aug. 13, 2009, 10:47am

MARSHALL � A few months after receiving a promotion to crew leader, Claudia Martin was terminated from her position for not meeting the crew leader standards.

Martin claims the company could have demoted her but instead violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and used the opportunity to terminate her employment because of her work restrictions.

Alleging other violations of the Civil Rights Act, Martin filed suit against Teknor Color Co. on Aug. 12 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Employed as a lead operator since 2003, Martin was the only female working in the defendant's warehouse. She injured her back in 2006 and required permanent weight restrictions to work.

The complaint states, "Plaintiff has a physical impairment that substantially limits one or more of her major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, and was regarded by Teknor Color Co. as having such an impairment."

Martin was promoted from lead operator to crew leader in 2008.

According to the plaintiff, she was given a sheet listing changes that were to be made within 30 days or she risked losing her position.

Martin claims she completed the changes but was told she was not meeting the position's standards.

"Defendant contemplated demoting Plaintiff to Line Operator or Shipping Clerk but due to her restrictions, Defendant states the Plaintiff did not qualify to work as an operator and was therefore terminated," the lawsuit states.

Martin states that with reasonable accommodations she can perform the essential functions of her job as lead operator and then crew leader.

The plaintiff argues that despite requests Teknor Color refused to make those accommodations and failed to undertake any good faith efforts towards accommodation.

Martin is asking the court to award her lost back wages, lost future wages, lost benefits, attorney fees, and litigation expenses.

Tyler attorney William S. Hommel, Jr. is representing the plaintiff in her allegations.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward will preside over the litigation.

Case No. 2:2009cv00240

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