City of Madison: Employee was fired for legitimate reasons

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 23, 2008, 7:38am

The city of Madison wants a wrongful discharge complaint dismissed because they had legitimate reasons for terminating Donald Wilson.

Wilson, a street department worker and humane officer for 21 years filed the suit, alleging he was fired for exercising his right to claim worker's compensation. He also claims he was not offered light work after his injury.

According to Wilson, during his career he performed numerous jobs including lifting and moving heavy items, animal carcasses and other jobs.

He filed his suit Sept. 3, alleging he severely injured his back in 2005 after lifting a large animal carcass.

He claims after he reached the maximum medical improvement, he was released to work with restrictions, but was fired Dec. 12, 2007, in retaliation for filing a worker's compensation and for making a claim for sick leave pay.

Represented by James Craney and David Wilkins of Brown & James in St. Louis, Madison claims the suit should be dismissed because during his employment, Wilson was a member of a contractual bargaining unit, and has an established grievance procedure to challenge any violation of his employment rights.

"As such, Plaintiff has not exhausted these remedies, and cannot as a matter of law, bring this action," the motion states.

The city of Madison also argues their dismissal of Wilson do not in any way violate public policy.

In addition, Madison argues they had legitimate, non discriminatory reasons for taking any actions regarding Wilson's employment.

The city further argues Wilson has failed to comply with the statutory and regulatory requirements necessary to bring an action against them.

According to Wilson's suit, his supervisor did not want to offer him work within his restrictions, but had authorized light duty for other city employees in the past.

Wilson also claims he was told that there was not any light duty work available.

Wilson claims he has suffered damages, including a loss of hourly wages, health insurance, benefits and seniority.

His two-count suit is seeking a judgment in excess of $100,000.

Wilson is represented by Morgan Scroggins of Scroggins Law Office.

Stack has set a hearing for 9 a.m. on Nov. 19.

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