TEXARKANA, Ark. -- Walking in after smoking part of a cigar outside, employee Larry Donnell Collins states he was confronted by Sacred Heart Catholic Church's executive secretary Dawn Sorcy for smoking inside the non-smoking church facilities, court documents say.
Collins states he approached Sorcy to show her the unlit cigar but Sorcy responded to his advancements by spraying a can of Lysol at him.
Seeking $20,000, Collins filed an employment discrimination suit against the church on July 24 in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas.
According to the pro se complaint, when Collins returned from smoking outside, the smell of smoke was lingering on his clothes.
The employee argues that when he passed by Sorcy, she accused him of smoking while in the building. After she spied the cigar, Collins approached her to show it was unlit. Another church employee also approached to confirm the cigar was unlit.
However, according to the suit, Sorcy would not believe them and as he approached her, she began to spray him with Lysol disinfectant.
A few days later and after speaking to the office supervisor, Collins was terminated from his position. The lawsuit states that the office supervisor said it was easier to replace Collins than Sorcy, regardless of who was wrong or right.
Collins is asking the court for an award of $20,000 for the damage the Lysol caused to his eyes and face.
The federal court entered an order allowing the complaint, while it determines whether there is federal jurisdiction.
Judge Harry F. Barnes is presiding over the litigation.
Case No 4:2008cv04059