CHARLESTON – A Mercer County man is suing over claims he was fired after permanently injuring his back at work.
Frank White filed a lawsuit Sept. 23 in United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia against Sam's East Inc., doing business as Sam's Club No. 4860, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., citing disability discrimination.
According to the complaint, White injured his back while working at the Beckley Sam's Club, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart, in 2010 and reinjured it in 2011, resulting in two workers' compensation claims, back surgery on Oct. 15, 2011, and a permanent disability.
White says he remained off work and collected compensation until September 2012, during which time he was replaced at work.
The complaint states when he returned, his disability was accommodated with a new cashier position, but despite his satisfactorily performing the job, he was placed on unpaid leave Sept. 25, 2012.
According to the lawsuit, White was informed the company would search for a job which he could perform during his leave of absence, but White alleges it was a ruse as his employment was terminated June 17, 2013, under the pretense that the company could not identify a position for which the plaintiff was qualified with his disability.
The defendants are accused of unlawful disability discrimination under the West Virginia Human Rights Act and unlawful discrimination in violation of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Act.
White seeks more than $75,000 in damages, including lost wages, back pay and front pay, lost benefits, reinstatement and punitive damages, attorney fees and interest.
He is represented by attorneys Mark Goldner and Maria W. Hughes of Hughes & Goldner in Charleston.
Southern District of West Virginia case number: 5:14-CV-26106