Employee Wins $5.5 Million in Disability Discrimination Lawsuit
On December 28, 2011, Plaintiff Albert Gucker, a 61 year old mechanic, was constructively discharged from Defendant, U.S. Steel Corp. Plaintiff had work restrictions regarding lifting and climbing, due to an arthritic knee since 2003.
On that day, Plaintiff underwent a return-to-work exam by a company physician, after returning to work following surgery. The doctor approved him for work with the same restrictions he already had in place. On that same day, Plaintiff was informed by a supervisor that his restrictions would not be tolerated. The following day Plaintiff applied for Social Security disability insurance, and he was determined to be disabled.
Plaintiff alleged that U.S. Steel violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) when he was terminated. Throughout Plaintiff’s employment, he had received no complaints or negative reports about his job performance, and there were never any safety issues raised regarding his restrictions.
The jury found that Plaintiff was a qualified individual with a disability, and he should have received accommodations. The jury further concluded that U.S. Steel terminated Plaintiff based on his disability with the knowledge that it was violating the law, or may have been violating the law.
Following a two-week trial, the jury determined the Plaintiff entitled to receive $5.55 million, including $5 million in punitive damages and $550,000 in compensatory damages.