KEYSER – A Mineral County man is suing over claims he was forced to resign when his employer repeatedly humiliated him and refused to provide disability accommodation.
James Hott filed a lawsuit Aug. 14 in Mineral County Circuit Court against Advance Auto Parts Inc. and Lonnie Gardner, citing denial of FMLA benefits.
According to the complaint, Hott was hired by AAP at its Keyser location as a parts delivery driver on April 27, 2010, with the managers, including Gardner, having full knowledge of Hott's disability that rendered his right arm useless from Erb's palsy.
The complaint states Gardner began to order Hott to work additional weekend hours that would require him to unload and stock supplies, which put great strain on his left arm, his only functional arm.
Hott says he was the only driver required to do so, and due to pain, he requested to be relieved of the unloading work but Gardner told him his hours would be cut if he refused.
The lawsuit states Hott continued to work weekends in fear for his job, but Gardner cut his hours anyway and also made Hott learn the store's computer system and meet a sales quota, neither of which other employees in his same position had to do. Hott says when he had to use the computer, he was ridiculed by Gardner in front of customers, and was frequently required to re-shelve products for no reason but to be disparaged in front of employees.
The complaint states that after a series of medical tests and consultations, including a neurosurgical consultation, and complaints of pain to his managers in July, August, and September 2012, Hott received an off-work slip from his doctor on Sept. 14, 2012, which Gardner refused to read, forcing Hott to resign.
Hott says in November 2012, he was diagnosed with brachial plexopathy, shoulder arthropathy, cervical facet syndrome, brachial neuritis and stenosis of the cervical spine.
The defendants are accused of unlawful interference and denial of FMLA benefits, violation of the West Virginia Human Rights Act and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Hott is seeking damages, lost wages and benefits, future wages, interest, and attorney fees.
He is represented by attorney David E. Furrer of of Seigel, Tully & Furrer Law Offices in Cumberland, Md.
Mineral County Circuit Court case number 14-C-109