Former employee sues CCC, Dodgion

Published 9:22 am Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Superintendent says  ‘no merit to lawsuit’


GETAWAY — A former employee of the Lawrence County Joint Vocational School District has sued the district and Collins Career Superintendent Steve Dodgion, alleging he was unjustly terminated from his job. Dodgion said the allegation has no merit.

George Brown, who worked at the Collins Career Center as a custodian, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati last Thursday. He seeks unspecified damages. Brown alleges in his lawsuit that he was fired after he left work early several times because he is ill and the termination violates his protection under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

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According to the lawsuit, “In August 2011, plaintiff George Brown was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate. As a result of his medical condition, plaintiff George Brown would frequently experience flare-ups wherein he would experience severe pain when engaging in such physical activities as walking, lifting, bending, stretching and stooping. Said condition constitutes a ‘disability’ as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

According to the lawsuit, Brown received permission from his immediate supervisor, Steven Martin, to leave work early when he had a flareup of his medical problem and he did on “several” occasions leave work early, according to the lawsuit.

Brown said in his complaint he was confronted Dec. 8, 2011, by Dodgion about leaving work early the day before and Brown explained he had permission to do so.

Brown said Dodgion then put him on administrative leave pending an investigation. Brown was later terminated.

Brown contends in his lawsuit no one at the school ever discussed how Brown might remain on the job and some accommodation be made for his medical disability.

He also contends no one at the school ever discussed with him his possible eligibility for leave time under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Dodgion contends the lawsuit is baseless.

“It’s laughable,” Dodgion said. “It’s an attempt to get money. Mr. Brown was terminated for just cause.”

Dodgion said there is no record of Brown filing for FMLA and the only doctor’s slip on file said Brown had a minor health problem.

“It’s an old story,” Dodgion said. “Everyone is looking for a free ride.”