Former Lanter employees sue for retaliatory discharge

Ann Knef Jun. 5, 2006, 9:49am

Dennis Renner and Alice Miller are suing their former employer, Lanter Transport Inc., and the company that bought it, LTI Trucking Services, claiming they were fired for having pursued workers' compensation claims.

The lawsuit was filed May 31 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Renner claims he began receiving temporary total disability and medical benefits after he hurt his right shoulder at work in February and June of 2004. After surgery in April 2005, he was forced to work light duty in an un-air conditioned guard shack at the business entrace.

He claims he was given the assignment for the purpose of "embarrassing, harassing, humiliating, intimidating and retaliating against the plaintiff for exercising his rights under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act."

Miller also claims she was assigned light duty in the guard shack after she hurt her back on the job in April 2004. She also was receiving disability benefits.

The complaint does not state what type of work Renner and Miller performed. The trucking operation is located at 1024 Eagle Park Rd. in National City.

Lanter sold the business to LTI on Sept. 30, 2005, according to the complaint.

Renner and Miller claim they were told they would be re-hired by LTI Trucking, but were both fired on Oct. 6, 2005.

They claim they have lost seniority and other benefits, including bonuses, safety awards and other compensation.

The 10-count suit also claims the defendants violated the Wage Payment and Collection Act by not paying Renner and Miller final compensation in the form of earned wages, bonuses, vacation and sick pay and safety bonuses.

Represented by Stephen R. Wigginton of Weilmuenster & Wigginton in Belleville, the plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, costs of the suit and attorneys' fees.

Renner and Miller also claim the defendants conspired against them, leading them to believe they would be rehired, when they had no intention of rehiring them.

"That the actions of the Defendants were outrageous, and undertaken willfully and wantonly with an evil motive," the complaint states

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