Man sues former employer over firing

By Joel Brakken | Dec 30, 2013


FAYETTEVILLE - A man is suing his former employer after returning to work following work-related injuries.

Michael Bennett filed a lawsuit Dec. 13 in Fayette County Circuit Court against Black Thunder Inc., Jason Crist, Richard Nugen and Jeri Williams, citing deliberate intent and retaliatory discharge from employment.

According to the complaint, Bennett was employed by Black Thunder and was injured on Aug. 4, 2011, while performing work as directed by his supervisor, Jason Crist, requiring that he pull fiber optic cable.

He alleges that despite the dangerous nature of the work, he was not provided with mechanical assistance even though other workers were provided with safety equipment. The complaint states he was injured again on Jan. 18, 2012, while being required to manually lift 55 gallon drums filled with scrap metal, because the fork lift was not operating.

He says he was released by his treating physician and able to return to work on June 25, 2012, with restrictions limiting him to four-hour work days for a period of one week. He says on June 25, he began work at 7 a.m. and was given the job of painting scaffolding in the shop area, but he was terminated from his job by Richard Nugen for allegedly stealing two cases of bottled water.

Bennett is seeking an undisclosed amount of damages. He is being represented in the case by attorneys Michael A. Olivio and Travis A. Griffith.

Fayette County Circuit Court Civil Action No. 13-C-324

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