The Employment Termination Situation

Pennsylvania – Zeth Wentz, a former store manager at Staples’ Wayne location, was fired from the retail company after 8 years of serving as the general manager. Wentz claims indicate that the termination took place after his leave of absence was requested for medical purposes.

The lawsuit was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on March 28. Wentz claims both parties involved, Stephanie Lehn, District Manager, and Staples Inc. are at fault for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the United States Department of Labor, the ADA “prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities.” All regulations regarding employment are enforced and handled by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Wentz is also alleging that the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) and the Family Medical Leave Act were violated based on his termination. The PHRA “prohibits certain practices of discrimination because of race, color, religious creed, ancestry, age or national origin by employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, and others.”

The FMLA “entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.” Eligible employees are allowed to have “12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period” for several reasons including “a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job.”

Throughout the years of time and effort Zeth Wentz invested in his employment with Staples, his work performance exceeded excellence, which caused him to earn performance bonuses. Wentz managerial tactics and skills also guided the store to a position ranking as the chains “third-best performer.” During these accomplishments, Wentz dealt with depression and anxiety, but he didn’t allow his medical condition to hinder his work performance.

Change arrived with the New DM

Everything was going well for Wentz until his district manager switched to a new person. Based on the lawsuit, Stephanie Lehn, the new district manager, coerced Wentz to work long 10-hour shifts as opposed to an average 8-hour shift and required him to use a time clock that he hadn’t used prior to her arrival considering he’s on salary, not hourly pay.
Wentz requested to take an “FMLA leave of absence” along with an adjustment to an 8-hour shift that he might be more accustomed to working. By June 2, 2015, Zeth Wentz was miraculously terminated for the “alleged lack of leadership and disregard of policies.”

Is Termination a Side Effect of requesting some help with Employment Discomfort?

No, termination is not a side effect of requesting some help with employment discomfort. It appears that as long as Wentz complied with the new rules that required him to work long hours and use a time clock, without an issue, he may still have his job. Evidence has yet to be revealed indicating that Wentz, a high-performance leader of his store for 8 years, strangely made a tremendous or gradual change in his leadership pattern, or displayed a disregard of policies prior to his request for an FMLA and a length adjustment for his shifts.

The common question, “what’s wrong” is often raised in a negative situation. In this case, Wentz deserves to be informed about “what’s right” regarding his termination. He is currently a former employee of management who worked for a large retail company, for alleged reasons that don’t fit a man of his caliber or with his work history.

This is the case that is still pending, so the results of this lawsuit haven’t been disclosed. Christopher J. Delgaizo, Zeth Wentz’s attorney, is aiding Wentz “seek liquidated and compensatory damages, and litigation costs.” The total amount will be settled during the trial.

It’s unfortunate that it seems like bad things consistently happen to good people, but don’t allow that internal emotion to discourage you from speaking up for what you rightfully deserve.

If you believe your employer violated your rights according to the Americans with Disabilities Act or any form of discrimination, contact our New York City, Miami, New Jersey, and Philadelphia disability discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC for legal advice and representation with your case.

Our attorneys are knowledgeable, remarkably prepared, and ready to facilitate your disability discrimination lawsuit. Call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation.