After losing his position during his approved medical leave, a former Dillard's store manager is suing the store for age discrimination and for violating the Family Medical Leave Act.
James Drake filed suit against Dillard Store Services Inc. on July 20 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.
Drake was hired by the defendant in 1998 as a store manager for their Beaumont location. In December 2010, Drake had his right knee replaced and went on medical leave.
While still on medical leave in February 2011, Drake's treating physician prepared a note to inform Dillard's that Drake was not yet able to return to work and would be reevaluated the following week.
According to the original complaint, Drake met with his supervisor a few days later and was told to that he had "two choices: quit or be fired."
The supervisor explained that he was unhappy with the store's performance, the suit states.
Drake was replaced by a male who was 20 years younger.
The EEOC was told that Drake was fired for engaging in unethical activity such as approving 20 percent-off coupons without prior authorizations and giving away merchandise, according to the suit.
At the time of his termination on Feb. 21, 2011, Drake was 59 years old.
The defendant is accused of defamation and for violating the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
The plaintiff is seeking an award of actual damages, general damages for mental anguish, humiliation, and emotional distress, damages to reputation, interest, exemplary damages, liquidated damages, attorney's fees and court costs.
Drake is represented by Daryl Sinkule of Shellist Lazarz Slobin LLP in Houston. A jury trial is requested.
U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the case.
Case No. 1:12-cv-00365