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Maurice Arcadier

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AT&T - Age Discrimination, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Employee, Commission on Human Relations (FCHR), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE NINTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN AND FOR ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA

LEN RICHES,

Plaintiff,

v. Case No.: _______________________

AT&T CORP.,

Defendant.


COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL


Plaintiff, LEN RICHES, by and through his undersigned attorney, sues Defendant, AT&T Corp., and alleges as follows:
1. This action is brought to obtain relief for discrimination committed by Defendant AT&T Corp. against Plaintiff on the basis of Plaintiff’s age and disability/handicap; and for violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
2. This is an action for damages in excess of Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000.00), exclusive of interest, costs, and attorney fees.
3. The unlawful practices alleged below were committed within Orange County, Florida.
4. Plaintiff currently resides in Orange County, Florida, and at all times material hereto resided in Orange County, Florida.
5. Defendant, AT&T Corp., is a Foreign Profit, New Jersey corporation, registered and doing business in the State of Florida and is an “employer” as defined in the statutes under which this complaint is brought.
6. Plaintiff was employed by Defendant, AT&T Corp., on or about May 22, 1972 in the position of Senior Records Clerk.
7. At all times, Plaintiff performed all duties assigned to him in a professionally competent manner, faithfully followed all reasonable instructions given to him by his supervisors, and abided by all the rules and regulations of Defendant.
8. Plaintiff was a twenty-eight (28) year employee of Defendant, AT&T Corp. when he was terminated and was fifty (50) years of age, having been born on April 14, 1950.
9. In 1999 – 2000 Plaintiff was forced to take intermittent FMLA leave due to a handicap/disability he has because of a knee problem, and also because of chronic hypertension and a shoulder injury he had experienced. Additional FMLA leave was taken due to the serious illness of his daughter.
10. Plaintiff was terminated by Defendant, AT&T Corp. on June 19, 2000 and was given no document explaining his termination. It was such a shock to Plaintiff that he has no recollection of being told why he was being terminated. Based upon post termination statements made by counsel for Defendant, AT&T Corp. to the EEOC, Plaintiff can only surmise that his termination had something to do with his having attended a Universal Studios orientation program on April 4, 2000 where he had applied for a part time position to supplement his income.
11. Plaintiff had used a day of FMLA leave on April 4, 2000 because he was experiencing severe pain due to his shoulder injury. His normal workday with Defendant, AT&T Corp. was from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This time included a one-half hour unpaid lunch period. As the day progressed Plaintiff felt sufficiently better in the afternoon that he decided to attend an orientation at 3:00 p.m. at Universal Studios for new employees. He was not required to attend this particular orientation and could have attended it on several different dates.
12. Plaintiff had previously applied for a part time position parking cars with Universal Studios due to the medical bills he was incurring on behalf of his ill daughter.
13. Even if Plaintiff was somehow in violation of Defendant AT&T Corp.’s policy, younger employees who have had similar absences have not been terminated by Defendant, AT&T Corp.
14. On or about June 19, 2000, Plaintiff’s employment with Defendant, AT&T Corp., was terminated. This termination occurred without any prior warning and without the opportunity to discuss the reason for his termination, or to explain the events, which apparently led to his termination.
15. Plaintiff filed a formal Charge of Discrimination alleging age and handicap discrimination with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) on April 11, 2001, (FCHR) file number 2101797 and more than one hundred eighty (180) days have expired since the filing of said Charge of Discrimination. A copy of said Charge of Discrimination is attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit “A”.
16. On or about April 11, 2001 Plaintiff filed a charge alleging unlawful discrimination on the basis of age and disability against Defendant AT&T Corp. with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as required by 29 USC Section 626(d), EEOC file number 150 A1 2205. A copy of Plaintiff’s EEOC complaint is attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit “B”.
17. Plaintiff has been issued a Dismissal and Notice of Rights document; attached as Exhibit “C”, by the EEOC and less than ninety (90) days have expired since Plaintiff received Exhibit “C”.
18. Plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer grave and severe damage to his financial welfare, and his employment prospects, by reason of Defendant’s discriminatory actions against Plaintiff.
19. Plaintiff has suffered severe mental anguish and emotional distress as a result of Defendant’s actions.
20. Plaintiff has retained the undersigned attorney and agreed to pay him a reasonable fee.
21. Plaintiff has exhausted his administrative remedies prior to bringing this action.
22. Plaintiff has complied with all conditions precedent prior to bringing this action.
COUNT I
FLORIDA - AGE

23. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates Paragraphs 1 through 15 and 18 through 22 of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
24. This action is brought pursuant to Chapter 760, Florida Statutes, 2000 to obtain relief from discrimination committed by Defendant against Plaintiff in violation of the Florida Civil Rights Act.
25. The termination of Plaintiff’s employment was motivated by the intent of Defendant, AT&T Corp., to discriminate against Plaintiff on the basis of his age.
26. In its termination of Plaintiff’s employment, the Defendant, AT&T Corp., discriminated against Plaintiff on the basis of his age.
27. In terminating Plaintiff’s employment, Defendant violated the provisions of Section 760.10(1)(a), Florida Statutes, 2000, which makes it unlawful for an employer "To discharge or to fail or refuse to hire any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status”.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendant, AT&T Corp. as follows:
A. Judgment for his back pay, including all sums of money Plaintiff would have earned, together with such other increases to which he would be entitled, had he not been discriminatorily discharged.
B. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries.
C. Front pay.
D. Punitive Damages.
E. An award of reasonable attorney fees and all costs incurred herein.
F. Such other damages as may be just and proper.

COUNT II
FEDERAL - ADEA

28. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates Paragraphs 1 through 14 and 16 through 22 of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
29. Jurisdiction of this action is founded upon 29 USC Sec. 626(b)(c); 29 USC Sec. 217; and 29 USC Sec. 216(b).
30. At all times material hereto, Defendant AT&T Corp. was engaged in an industry affecting commerce and had twenty (20) or more employees for each working day in each of twenty (20) or more calendar weeks in the then current or preceding calendar year. Said Defendant was and is therefore an employer within the meaning of Section 11(b) of the ADEA 29 USC Sec. 630(b).
31. The discharge of Plaintiff was motivated by the intent of Defendant AT&T Corp. to discriminate against Plaintiff on the basis of his age.
32. In its discharge of Plaintiff, the Defendant AT&T Corp. discriminated against Plaintiff on the basis of his age.
33. By discharging Plaintiff, Defendant AT&T Corp. violated the provisions of 29 USC Section 623(a)(1), which makes it unlawful for an employer "to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s age."
34. Proximately, directly and as a result of Defendant AT&T Corp. discriminating against Plaintiff on account of his age, Plaintiff has suffered damages consisting of loss of salary and other compensation.
35. The conduct of Defendant AT&T Corp. complained of herein was willful, malicious, oppressive, wanton and in complete disregard of the rights of Plaintiff and accordingly, Plaintiff is entitled to recover statutory liquidated damages from the Defendant AT&T Corp.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that the court will:
A. Award Plaintiff all monetary damages to which he is entitled, including statutory liquidated damages.
B. Award Plaintiff a reasonable attorney’s fee and the costs of this action, to be taxed against Defendant AT&T Corp.
C. Grant Plaintiff such other and further relief as the court may deem just and proper.


COUNT III
FLORIDA - HANDICAP

36. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates Paragraphs 1 through 15 and 18 through 22 of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
37. At the time of his discharge, Plaintiff had a handicap that substantially limited one of the major life activities of Plaintiff, i.e. sitting for extended periods of time.
38. In spite of his handicap, Plaintiff was able to perform all of the essential functions of his position.
39. The termination of Plaintiff’s employment was motivated by the intent of Defendant, AT&T Corp., to discriminate against Plaintiff on the basis of his handicap.
40. In its termination of Plaintiff’s employment, the Defendant, AT&T Corp., discriminated against Plaintiff on the basis of his handicap.
41. In terminating Plaintiff’s employment, Defendant violated the provisions of Section 760.10(1)(a), Florida Statutes (2000), which makes it unlawful for an employer "To discharge or to fail or refuse to hire any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status”.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendant, AT&T Corp. as follows:
A. Judgment for his back pay, including all sums of money Plaintiff would have earned, together with such other increases to which he would be entitled, had he not been discriminatorily discharged.
B. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries.
C. Front pay.
D. Punitive Damages.
E. An award of reasonable attorney fees and all costs incurred herein.
F. Such other damages as may be just and proper.

COUNT IV
FEDERAL – ADA

42. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates Paragraphs 1 through 14 and 16 through 22 as if set forth in full herein.
43. Plaintiff had: (a) one or more disabilities, i.e. a physical or mental impairment that substantially limited one or more of the major life activities of Plaintiff; (b) a record of such an impairment; or (c) was regarded as having such an impairment.
44. In spite of his disability, Plaintiff was able to perform all of the essential functions of his position.
45. At the time of his discharge, Plaintiff had a physical disability that substantially limited one of the major life activities of Plaintiff i.e. sitting for extended periods of time.
46. In spite of his disability, Plaintiff was able to perform all of the essential functions of his position.
47. The termination of Plaintiff’s employment was motivated by the intent of Defendant, AT&T Corp., to discriminate against Plaintiff on the basis of his disability.
48. In terminating Plaintiff’s employment, Defendant violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 USC Section 1201, et seq., which makes it unlawful for an employer to discharge or otherwise to discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability, with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s disability.
49. In terminating Plaintiff, Defendant AT&T Corp. engaged in a discriminatory practice with malice and reckless indifference to the statutorily protected rights of Plaintiff.
50. Proximately and directly as a result of Defendant AT&T Corp. discriminating against Plaintiff on account of his disability, Plaintiff has suffered damages consisting of severe emotional distress, loss of salary and other compensation.
51. The conduct of Defendant, AT&T Corp., complained of herein was willful, malicious, oppressive, wanton and in complete disregard of the rights of Plaintiff.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for:
A. Judgment for his back pay, including all sums of money Plaintiff would have earned, together with such other increases to which he would be entitled, had he not been discriminatorily discharged.
B. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, damages for emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other nonpecuniary loss.
C. Front pay.
D. Punitive Damages.
E. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein.
F. Such other damages and relief as may be just and proper.

COUNT V
FEDERAL - FMLA

52. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates Paragraphs 1 through 14 and 18 through 22 of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
53. This action is brought pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), of 1993, 29 U.S.C. Sections 2601 -2654, to obtain relief for denial of benefits and termination from employment in violation of the FMLA.
54. Plaintiff was employed by Defendant AT&T Corp. in excess of 12 months and for at least 1250 hours over the 12 months prior to denial of his benefits under the FMLA.
55. Defendant AT&T Corp. employed in excess of 50 employees at the location where Plaintiff was employed.
56. At all times, Plaintiff performed all duties assigned to him in a professionally competent manner, faithfully followed all reasonable instructions given to him by his supervisors, and abided by all the rules and regulations of Defendant AT&T Corp.
57. Defendant AT&T Corp.’s actions against Plaintiff in violation of the FMLA were done wantonly, maliciously, willfully and with intent to do harm to Plaintiff.
58. Plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer grave and severe damage to his financial welfare, by reason of Defendant AT&T Corp.’s unlawful actions against Plaintiff.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendant, AT&T Corp. as follows:
A. Judgment for his wages, salary, employment benefits, or other compensation denied or lost to Plaintiff, together with such increases to which he would be entitled, had he not been unlawfully discharged.
B. Interest.
C. An additional amount as liquidated damages.
D. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein.
E. Such other damages and relief as may be just and proper.

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
Plaintiff demands a jury trial on all issues herein triable by jury.




DATED: This _____ day of October, 2001.


________________________
Wayne L. Allen, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 110025
Adrienne E. Trent, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 0060119
W. John Gadd, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 0463061
WAYNE L. ALLEN & ASSOCIATES, P.A.
Attorneys for Plaintiff
700 N. Wickham Road, Suite 107
Melbourne, Florida 32935
Phone: (321) 254-7550
Fax: (321) 242-1681


Attorney: Maurice Arcadier
Status: Closed
Date Filed: 10/31/2001


Our Melbourne office is centrally located in Brevard County, enabling our lawyers to serve clients throughout "the Space Coast", including Cocoa Beach, Palm Bay and Vero Beach.



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