BELLEVILLE — An East St. Louis man alleges he was fired by a local trucking company after being injured on the job in 2018 and receiving workers' compensation benefits.
Roderick Jones filed suit July 31 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Zade Trucking, alleging violations of the state's Workers' Compensation Act.
"There is a causal connection between [Jones]' exercise of his rights under the Workers' Compensation Act and the defendant's termination," the four-page complaint states.
Zade Trucking is a minority-owned specialized freight company, certified in March 2017 and based in East St. Louis, according to information about the company on the Iowa Department of Transportation's website. The company is owned by Dana Howard, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation. Its registered agent is Ryan J. Mahoney in Swansea, according to the complaint.
Zade Trucking did not respond to a request for comment from the Record.
Roderick Jones was fired as a Zade Trucking employee on April 1 after having consistently "met or exceeded" the company's "reasonable employment expectations," the complaint states. Jones was fired exactly six months after he was injured on the job the previous November.
Jones argues in his lawsuit that he was fired "for exercising his rights under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act," a violation of an Illinois statute.
Prior to being fired, Jones alleges in his complaint that he was a reliable employee and "promptly sought and received medical treatment for his workplace injury" the same day he received it.
Jones' complaint does not describe the nature of his injury but said he suffered the injury "while working within the course and scope of his employment" with Zade Trucking and that it was severe enough to render him eligible for workers' compensation benefits.
Jones claims he "has suffered and will continue and incur loss of income, loss of benefits, emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation."
"Punitive damages are necessary to punish this defendant and other entities who are similarly disposed to violate the strong public policy of the state of Illinois found in the Illinois Workers Compensation Act," the complaint states
Jones alleges retaliatory discharge and seeks compensatory damages and punitive damages. Jones also seeks damages in excess of $100,000, back wages and benefits, "appropriate front pay and benefits," interest, emotional distress and compensatory damages" and all other just relief.
The complaint seeks "relief" against Zade Trucking "to fully punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar conduct."
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jones by attorneys Keith Short and John Daugherty of Short and Daugherty in Alton.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 19-L-545