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SUIT: Paramus Whole Foods Worker Says Anxiety Over Black Widow Spider Bite Lead To Termination

Bergen Town Center.
Bergen Town Center. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

A former employee of Paramus' Whole Foods store is suing the company for disability discrimination, according to a recent report.

Richard Highsmith says he developed too much anxiety to work in the produce section after a black widow spider bit him in the department, NJ.com said, citing the suit.

The higher-ups at the Bergen Town Center store did not let the Hackensack resident switch departments following the incident, according to the suit.

New Jersey discrimination laws make it illegal to discriminate against an employee for his or her age, ancestry, military service, color, creed, disability, marital status, domestic partnership status, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The suit was filed in Superior Court in Bergen County last month. Whole Foods, however, switched it to federal court last week, the article says.

Whole Foods did not respond to NJ.com's request for comment, but the lawsuit cites Highsmith's termination as "job abandonment" -- saying he stopped showing up to work.

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