Worker claims diagnosis of sleep apnea led to termination

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Jan. 21, 2013, 2:59pm

MARSHALL - A Rusk County man has filed an age and disability discrimination lawsuit claiming that he was terminated from his job due to his diagnosis of sleep apnea and replaced by a younger man. 

Don W. Canterbury filed suit against Gulf Coast Companies Inc., doing business as Gulf Coast Chemical Inc., on Jan. 16 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

Canterbury was hired by the defendant as a branch foreman on Aug. 1, 2005.  In July 2011, he was diagnosed with sleep apnea/narcolepsy and began taking prescription medication.

According to the lawsuit, Canterbury’s doctor advised that it would be okay for him to drive a fork-lift, but the defendant took Canterbury off driving a truck.

Canterbury was terminated in March 2012 after a delivery driver hit an oil well. At the time of his termination, Canterbury was 59 years old and he was replaced with a younger male.

The defendant is accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and for age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for lost wages, lost employment opportunities, pecuniary losses, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, extreme emotional distress, embarrassment, severe disappointment, indignation, shame, despair, public humiliation, exemplary damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.

Canterbury is represented by Tyler attorney William S. Hommel Jr. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:13-cv-00031

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