John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Sep. 25, 2012, 10:12am

GALVESTON - La Porte resident Randall Scott Sheffield has filed suit against INEOS USA LLC for firing him because of his health problems.

According to a lawsuit filed Sept. 20 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas, the respondent, doing business as INEOS Olefins and Polymers USA, terminated Sheffield to get him back "for availing himself of benefits and protections afforded by the Family and Medical Leave Act" to care for his diabetes and other ailments.

Sheffield had a 25-year career as a chemical operator, including a stint at the respondent's facilities in his city from 2007 to July 2011.

His suit explains that he submitted FMLA documentation on a few occasions: in 2009 for shoulder surgery and in 2011 for treatment of his back.

The plaintiff asserts he was enrolled in a performance improvement plan program though he "had not done anything justifying his placement" and had his salary decrease after his shoulder procedure and was removed from his team leader position upon his return from recuperating from a bad back.

Court papers further show the respondent cited Sheffield for infractions they refute as "fabricated," adding it repeatedly asked him to furnish a doctor's release in order to return to work from time off.

Meanwhile, the complainant reportedly experienced health troubles while on the clock and was prompted to see a cardiologist.
The plaintiff then received a letter dated Jul. 14, 2011, announcing his termination for which the reasons were not given.

He tried to go to the defendant's plant for what he thought was a meeting to discuss the firing in question two days later, however, the company "treated him like a criminal and denied him entrance" to the facilities, the suit says.

INEOS supposedly attempted to thwart the awarding of his unemployment benefits to no avail as the "falsity" behind one of its allegations against him was debunked.

The suit argues "INEOS offered no explanation of why it reached this evaluation only after Sheffield had disclosed a disability and had taken approved and mandated medical leave."

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Reagan D. Pratt with The Pratt Law Firm PLLC in Houston is representing Sheffield.

Case No. 3:12-cv-278

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