A former employee of Trail King of South Dakota alleges in a lawsuit that he was a victim of disability discrimination when he was fired for promoting his wife’s Avon business to co-workers.
Gregory Miller’s federal court lawsuit against Trail King seeks back wages, benefits and unspecified punitive damages.
The Mitchell-based manufacturer of specialty trailers denies the allegations and wants a judge to dismiss the lawsuit.
Miller, of Mitchell, worked in the maintenance department at Trail King’s Mitchell plant for nearly 19 years before he was dismissed in February 2008.
The company knew of Miller’s rheumatoid arthritis when he was hired but began reducing and limiting his job duties in 2006 and 2007 “because of the perception that his rheumatoid arthritis was worsening” and it perceived him as a person with a disability, according to the complaint.
While other employees sold raffle tickets or Girl Scout cookies and engaged in sports betting pools in the work place, Miller was the only one fired for distributing Avon products or brochures, the complaint states.
In its answer, Trail King said Miller had the skills, experience and education for the job when he was hired.
“However, during the last months of his employment, Miller’s job performance and attitude deteriorated, and Miller flagrantly disregarded TKSD’s (Trail King) policies, despite repeated warnings to the contrary, which led to the termination of his employment.”
He distributed brochures or products during lunch or break times and during work hours, “all in violation of the solicitation policy,” the company said.
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