Hip replacement was basis for firing, woman claims in suit

Kelly Holleran Nov. 22, 2010, 3:22am

An impending hip replacement caused a woman to lose her job at a loan company, she claims in recently filed court documents.

Beverly Tallant filed a lawsuit Nov. 8 in Madison County Circuit Court against Sun Loan Company Illinois.

In her complaint, Tallant claims her superiors fired her less than two days after she informed them of her need for a hip replacement.

Following her admission to the hospital on Feb. 3, 2009, Tallant learned of her need for total hip replacement, which would relieve her severe pain and disability, according to the complaint.

On Feb. 12, 2009, before the hip replacement, Tallant returned to work and spent a full day on the job, the suit states.

"The disability and pain in her hip interfered with plaintiff's ability to walk, move about, go up and down steps, and otherwise engage in areas of major life functioning," the complaint says. "Further, the medications plaintiff took, and the other medical conditions plaintiff experienced, interfered with areas of major life functioning and left plaintiff unable to engage in areas of major life functioning unrelated to plaintiff's ability to perform the essential functions of her job with defendant."

Despite her severe pain, Tallant returned to work again on Feb. 13, 2009, where she claims she found her immediate supervisor in tears.

Eventually, Tallant discovered the reason for her boss's crying was due to the fact that upper management from Sun Loan were scheduled to arrive to terminate Tallant, according to the complaint.

"Ms. Ubanks, as plaintiff's immediate supervisor, knew plaintiff performed all the essential functions of her job with defendant in a manner that at the very minimum met the defendant's reasonable expectations, and that no legitimate business reason existed for the termination of plaintiff's employment," the suit states.

As Ubanks informed Tallant, upper management arrived and terminated Tallant, the complaint says.

Upon her termination, Tallant signed a "Separation Agreement," which management had presented to her and told her to sign.

"Plaintiff attempted to read through the legal document presented to her, however Ms. Bardoni continued talking to plaintiff and berated plaintiff's work performance and made other false and inaccurate statements to plaintiff while plaintiff was attempting to read the document," the suit states.

In the separation agreement, Tallant read a clause that stated Sun Loan would continue to pay its portion of her health insurance for four weeks following her termination, the complaint says.

Knowing of her impending hip replacement surgery, Tallant claims she signed the separtion agreement. However, Sun Loan canceled Tallant's health insurance, and she could not undergo her hip replacement surgery, according to the complaint.

As a result of her termination and the loss of her health insurance, Tallant lost wages and compensation of more than $50,000 but less than $70,000, the suit states.

In her complaint, Tallant seeks compensatory damages not greater than $70,001, plus costs and attorney's fees.

Lee W. Barron of Alton will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-1135.

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