Atlantic City—a former employee of South Jersey Gas sued his employer for failing to make accommodations for his depression and then firing him just days shy of his 20th anniversary of employment with the company. A jury awarded the man, Scott Jones, $1.1 million in emotional damages and $720,544 in economic damages on July 24th.
Jones filed suit back in 2006 after his employer fired him, citing “poor work performance”. However, South Jersey Gas maintains that Jones was fired for his low work performance, alleging that he made no sales in the months prior to his termination and that he had “never been a top performer”. Nevertheless, the company was undergoing a restructuring plan that unduly increased Jones’ workload, putting increased pressure on him and ultimately contributing to his depression. Furthermore, Jones’ annual reviews showed he always received satisfactory marks for his work, despite his depression.
Moreover, Jones went to his supervisors in the three months prior to his termination to discuss accommodations for his depression because of his increased inability to concentrate. His supervisors referred him to a counselor through the company Employee Assistance Program and Jones signed a waiver allowing his supervisors to discuss his psychological evaluation and then to make the corresponding work accommodations. However, his supervisors never contacted the counselor to look over Jones’ evaluation. His employers allege that the document Jones signed simply stated that he had attended counseling, but did not give them the right to discuss his psychological evaluation. South Jersey Gas plans to appeal the decision.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.