Texas City man claims he was terminated by Comcast for taking disability leave

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Apr. 14, 2011, 9:18am

GALVESTON � Texas City resident Daniel Antley has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Comcast of Houston LLC.

The suit alleges Comcast threatened Antley with termination if he remained on long-term disability for the full amount of time he requested for back surgery recuperation, discriminated against him for taking long-term disability and retaliated against him for taking long-term disability.

Court documents were filed in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas.

Antley worked for Comcast and Time Warner, its predecessor, for approximately a decade.

He underwent back surgery in August 2007. He was required to be out of work for at least six months for the recovery and would need several more months of physical therapy thereafter, the suit says.

The plaintiff applied for and received short-term disability while out for the procedure. His superiors, however, instructed him to come back to work after only four months of being out on disability leave, the suit says.

Antley asserts the defendant told him that he would lose his job if he did not return immediately.

"Not wanting to lose his job, Mr. Antley convinced his doctor to release him to work," the suit says.

"Mr. Antley's doctor released him to light duty."

Comcast allowed the plaintiff to work in the office before sending him back out onto the field. Antley claims his back never fully recovered because he returned earlier than expected.

He had another back operation in June 2009 and was again prompted to take disability leave.

The suit mentions that Antley's supervisor frequently called him to ask when he would be returning to work.

"This pressure to return to work early increased in frequency and intensity as the weeks passed," it says.

"In October 2009, Mr. Antley's supervisor began threatening to fire Mr. Antley if he did not return to work immediately."

Antley further explains that he experienced harassment, discrimination and retaliation upon his return, stating he was belittled for minor things and turned down for promotions. He was fired without reason last December, the suit says.

The plaintiff adds he was forced to cash out his 401K to pay his mortgage and other living expenses for which he incurred several thousands of dollars in penalties. He also had to pay out-of-pocket for benefits and expenses that he would not have to pay for had his employment with Comcast continued, the suit says.

He consequently seeks an unspecified amount of monetary damages and a jury trial.

Attorney Michelle M. Slaughter of Houston is representing Antley, and U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt is presiding over the case.

Case No. 3:11-cv-00102

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