A former Belleville News-Democrat employee is suing the newspaper's parent company, The McClatchy Co., alleging he was fired in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim.

Djamel Guellil claims he sustained an on-the-job injury to his right shoulder Feb. 14, 2003, after which he applied for and received temporary total disability benefits.

According to the suit filed Jan. 16 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Guellil underwent surgery for his injury on Oct. 27, 2004.

When released to return to work Jan. 3, 2005, Guellil claims he was "terminated and discharged."

"By reason of the aforesaid wrongful acts of defendant, plaintiff has been deprived of his lawful employment, has suffered damages by his loss of income and benefits, including but not limited to wages, bonuses, pension and/or healthcare benefits, has sustained injury to his reputation, and has sustained mental anguish," the complaint states.

Represented by Kevin Boyne of Belleville, Guellil is seeking not more than $75,000 in compensatory damages, and punitive damages as well.

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