HUNTINGTON – A former employee is suing Tri-State Airport Authority after he claims it failed to accommodate his learning disability and terminated his employment.
Brett McCoy and Gail White were also named as defendants in the suit.
James Cremeans has a severe brain birth defect and is illiterate, according to a complaint filed Dec. 13 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
Cremeans was hired as a full-time custodian by TSAA in April and earned $9 per hour and worked 40 hours per week.
In the hiring process, Cremeans informed TSAA of his learning disability and, during the interview process, he was required to watch a video and take a written test, according to the suit.
Cremeans claims due to his learning disability, he watched the video and an employee read the test to him and he provided verbal answers.
White was Cremeans’ immediate supervisor and instructed him on what cleaning duties to perform and he was scheduled to work the evening shift, according to the suit.
In May, TSAA instituted a checklist for all cleaning duties and White informed him of the paperwork as he arrived at his shift and she was leaving, according to the suit.
Cremeans claims when he explained to White that he could not read the form to fill out the paperwork and White promised that she would review the form with him, but she never reviewed the form and, on at least five occasions, he asked her for help with the form and she continued to promise she would review it with him and never did.
After speaking with White multiple times about the problem, he approached McCoy, who was White’s supervisor, and explained to him that he was illiterate, that he could not read the form and that he had tried to get help from White to no avail, according to the suit.
Cremeans claims McCoy also said he would help, but didn’t.
The plaintiff attempted to complete the paperwork by checking boxes of words that he could vaguely recognize, but his paperwork was deficient because he could not read the complete form, according to the suit.
Cremeans was never disciplined at TSAA for his job performance or how he completed his paperwork, however, in August, McCoy called him into his office and confronted him about the paperwork.
The plaintiff explained that he was illiterate and that he had completed all of his work, but that he could not read or understand the form to check the boxes, according to the suit.
Cremeans claims McCoy called him a liar and fired him immediately.
The defendants’ actions were a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act and the West Virginia Human Rights Act, according to the suit.
Cremeans claims the only accommodation that was necessary was for a literate employee to review the form with him at the end of his shift and check the boxes as he confirmed the work he had performed, which would have taken about a minute.
The plaintiff is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by Timothy Rosinsky of Rosinsky Law Office.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 3:17-cv-04537