Obese worker sues for disability discrimination after losing his job

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Dec. 13, 2011, 4:43am


TYLER -- A morbidly obese worker has filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against his former employer claiming he was fired for taking time off for a medical procedure.

Claiming violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Johnny O. Barton filed suit against Arrington Lumber and Pallet Co. Inc. on Dec. 5 in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division.
Barton worked for the defendants for more than eight years as a foreman in the processing department before he was terminated in May 2010.

Barton was diagnosed as morbidly obese and suffered from diabetes, arthritis, hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea.

In January 2010, Barton states he met with his doctor about having a medical procedure to help with his medical conditions. He had surgery in April 2010 and returned to work in May 2010. Shortly after returning to work, the lawsuit states that Arrington terminated Barton for missing too many days for medical reasons.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for wages, salary, employment benefits, court costs, attorneys' fees and interest.

A jury trial is requested.

Brian Craft and Walter Lackey of Findlay Craft in Tyler are representing Barton.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the case.

Case No. 6:11-cv-00652

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