A man who worked at a Sussex County Home Depot for more than two decades has filed a lawsuit against his former employer saying that the home improvement chain fired him after he suffered from a heart attack and had to return to work on light duty, reports say.
Anthony Lepore, 57, had worked for the company since 1997 but was fired from the Newton location last September, three months after suffering a heart attack that kept him out of work for one week following a subsequent surgery, NJ.com reports.
The suit -- filed in Hudson County Superior Court on Feb. 13 -- alleges that Home Depot discriminated against the Lepore "on the basis of disability" and says that the chain reprimanded him "because he requested and took the reasonable accommodations of time off from work as well as intermittent leave."
A Home Depot spokesperson said the business is “reviewing the suit and will address the claims in the proper forum.”
Lepore had worked in numerous supervisory roles at the retailer, holding a position as an overnight freight supervisor since 2012, the suit says.
Following a June 2 heart attack, Lepore underwent two surgical procedures that required him to take a week off from work each time.
When Lepore returned after his second leave of absence, he was given multiple written warnings for his lack of performance, the suit says.
Lepore was cited for sleeping during unpaid meal breaks and standing too far away from the unlocked store entrance while employees were entering, the suit says.
Finally, Lepore says he called a supervisor to say that he did not feel well and would be late for his shift on Sept. 19. Once he arrived, he was fired, according to the suit.
Prior to his health issues, Lepore received satisfactory job performance evaluations, the report says.
“In fact, as recently as 2018, (a supervisor) issued to plaintiff a performance evaluation in which his overall performance was rated as ‘Exceeds Expectations,’” the lawsuit says.
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