HUNTINGTON – A man is suing Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia Inc. after he claims his employment was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for applying for workers' compensation benefits.

Manpower of WV Inc. was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Andrian Sowards began employment with the defendants on May 19, 2014, and, during his employment, Manpower issued checks for payment of Sowards' wages, according to a complaint originally filed in Putnam Circuit Court and removed the federal court.

On April 12, Sowards sustained an injury to his rotator cuff in the course of and as a result of his employment and, following the injury, Sowards applied for workers' compensation benefits, according to the suit.

Sowards claims he sought treatment of a physician and was placed on a lifting restriction of not lifting any more than five pounds.

Although he advised the defendants of his injury and restrictions, Toyota ignored Sowards' restrictions and required him to perform his usual work without any accommodation, according to the suit.

Sowards claims on May 12, his employment was terminated due to "hearsay allegations that .. Sowards had violated a 'workplace violence' policy." Sowards denied the allegations against him.

The plaintiff's employment was terminated in retaliation for exercising his rights and engaging in protected conduct under the Family and Medical Leave Act, according to the suit.

Sowards claims he was discriminated against for receiving workers' compensation benefits.

Sowards is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by Hoyt Glazer, Ben Sheridan and Mitchell L. Klein of Klein, Sheridan & Glazer LC.

Toyota is represented by Anders W. Lindberg and Andrew P. Smith of Steptoe & Johnson.

The case is assigned to District Judge Robert C. Chambers.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 3:15-cv-13029

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