Olin Corp. sued by worker claiming he lost job after recovering from on-the-job illness

By The Madison County Record | Sep 30, 2014

A Madison County man says his former employer would not allow him back to work after he recovered from an illness he allegedly contracted on the job.

Paul Walters filed a lawsuit Sept. 12 in Madison County Circuit Court against Olin Corporation, Lisa Steiner and Fred Carpenter.

Walters worked at Olin Corporation's East Alton facility from May 1992 to August 2003, according to the complaint. Walters alleges he got a tick-borne illness while working in June 2003. His condition allegedly worsened, and he was told by his doctors to stop working for Olin. In June 2006, Walters says he filed claims against the company under the Illinois' Workers' Compensation Act and the Illinois' Occupational Diseases Act, both of which were contested and years of litigation followed.

According to the complaint, Walters was observed by an infectious disease specialist and was deemed healthy enough to return to work in March 2010. In June 2012, Olin allegedly agreed to let Walters return to work in the same capacity that he left as soon as he was physically capable. Walters alleges he was again determined healthy enough to return to his old job at Olin in November 2012.

However, when Walters took his return-to-work orders to Olin he allegedly was told by human resources personnel, Steiner and Carpenter, to go home. Walters says he was then sent to another doctor of the company's choosing and was found unable to return to work without restrictions. He contends he was never told what those restrictions were. In November 2012, Walters says he was fired from the company.

Walters accuses Olin of breach of contract, retaliatory discharge and of violating Illinois' Workers' Compensation Act and Human Rights Act for disability and age discrimination. He also accuses the company and its human resources managers of emotional distress. Walters seeks more than $300,000 in damages for past and future lost wages and benefits plus court costs.

Attorneys Peter S. Blasi, of Granite City, and Ryan M. Furniss, of St. Louis, represent Walters.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 14-L-1262.

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