Diabetic sues Steak Escape, says he was illegally fired

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 2, 2013

Steak Escape in Kanawha City

CHARLESTON - A man is suing the Steak Escape of Kanawha City II LLC for allegedly wrongfully terminating his employment.

Escape Enterprises Ltd. was also named as defendants in the suit. Matthew Clay, a Type 1 Diabetic, began his employment with Steak Escape on June 23, 2011, as a general crew member, according to a complaint filed Sept. 10 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Clay claims during his employment, he performed his duties in a satisfactory manner, and was promoted to shift supervisor after only a few months on the job.

A few months after Clay began his employment, he felt ill and asked his supervisor, Josh MacCleery, for permission to go home early, according to the suit.

Clay claims instead of allowing him to go home, MacCleery asked him to work the lunch rush first and when the lunch rush was over, he required him to stay even longer and clean the back room.

Eventually, Clay passed out while working and was taken to the hospital, where he remained for treatment for several days, according to the suit.

Clay claims following his hospitalizations, MacCleery began harassing him about his disability and treating him in a discriminatory manner.

Nearly every day when Clay was at work, MacCleery made negative comments to Clay regarding his disability and would write him up for conduct which was standard conduct for MacCleery himself and would tell him he would be fired if he went to the hospital, according to the suit.

Clay claims on May 6, he woke up in distress and his wife made him go to the hospital, where doctors were not sure what was causing his symptoms.

Once Clay realized he may be kept overnight at the hospital, he asked his wife to call in to work and report that he would not be there for his shift the next day, according to the suit.

Clay claims his wife called the supervisor and reported that Clay would not be there the next day because he was in the hospital and the next day, his wife followed up with management since Clay was in ICU.

During the call, Assistant Manager Jason Elliott became hostile and cursed at Clay's wife and told her Clay was fired, according to the suit.

Clay claims when he was released from the hospital, he contacted MacCleery about returning to work and was informed he had been terminated for being a no call, no show and, at the time of his discharge, he was not paid for accrued paid time off that had had not used.

The defendants' actions were willful, wanton, malicious and/or carried out with reckless disregard for the legal rights of the plaintiff, according to the suit.

Clay is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by D. Christopher Hedges and David L. Grubb of the Grubb Law Group.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Charles E. King.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-1706

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