EDWARDSVILLE -- An employee of a roofing company alleges he was terminated from the job for requesting workers' compensation benefits, alleging discrimination because of his disability and because he is of Mexican origin.
Homero Serrano-Cardenas filed suit in Madison County Circuit Court against his former employer, Collinsville-based Lakeside Roofing, accusing the company of violating rules around workers' compensation as well as provisions of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA).
When contacted, a representative of the company told the Record that it is likely could not respond but would check further. The company did not then respond.
Serrano-Cardenas alleges he was qualified for his position and performed all tasks in line with the employer's expectations before being fired in September 2017.
Prior to his discharge, Serrano-Cardenas said he was injured while at work. He asked for workers' compensation, and believes the request and firing were related.
The suit notes that Illinois public policy bars an employee being discharged for requesting workers' compensation benefits. Serrano-Cardenas is asking the court for lost past and future wages, damages for pain and suffering and punitive damages for the "unreasonable and vexatious" termination of his employment.
In addition, Serrano-Cardenas believes his firing is also linked to his underlying disability - not revealed in the filing - and is suing for discrimination under the ADA. He alleges to be a "qualified individual with a disability" as specified under Title 1 of the ADA. His employer was aware of his disability yet the plaintiff alleges he was subject to a hostile work environment and harassment.
His employment was ended as a result of his disability, the suit alleges, even though he carried out the work to his employer's expectations.
The suit also links a complaint over what is described as the hostile work environment to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to his firing. This amounted to retaliation for reporting disability discrimination, also a violation of the ADA, the suit alleges.
Serrano-Cardenas further alleges a violation of the state human rights act. He states that his handicap led to a hostile work environment and that he was replaced by an individual without a handicap. The plantiff also says he was discriminated against because of his national origin, in violation of the IHRA.
He seeks judgment of more than $50,000 and costs of suit. Serrano-Cardenas is represented by attorneys Michael J. Brunton and Mary Stewart of Brunton Law Offices in Collinsville.
Madison County Circuit Court Case number 19-L-1022