A St. Clair County man has filed suit against his former employer, alleging he was terminated because he filed a workers' compensation claim.

Helmut Drake claims he sustained a work-related injury while working for Gordon Trucking on Sept. 1.

According to the complaint filed Oct. 2 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Drake's treating physician took him off work because of his injury.

When he was able to return to work on Sept. 18, Drake called Gordon Trucking with the intent to return only to discover that he was terminated, the suit states.

"The termination of Plaintiff's employment by Defendant was in retaliation for Plaintiff exercising his rights under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act and was contrary to the public policy of the State of Illinois," the complaint says.

Because of his termination, Drake claims he lost wages, benefits and bonuses and suffered embarrassment, humiliation, emotional distress and loss of reputation.

Drake is seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, plus punitive damages and costs.

He will be represented by Mark S. Schuver of Mathis, Marifian, Richter and Grandy in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-525.

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