Ironton resident suing Cincinnati based company

Published 11:26 am Thursday, March 6, 2014

An Ironton resident has filed a lawsuit in Kentucky against her former employer.

Mary Lowe a former general manager at the Gold Star Chili in Russell, Ky., alleges that her termination from the Cincinnati-based company was a violation of her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Lowe, who worked for the restaurant company from April of 2011 to February of 2013, states in the complaint that she required neck surgery in November of 2012 and took Family and Medical Leave Act leave to recover from the procedure.

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On Jan. 8 of last year, according to the suit, Lowe was called into a special work meeting despite still being on FMLA leave. During this meeting Lowe’s attorney Abraham J. Saad, alleges that the company’s operation support manager Saad Alsaadeh “berated her performance.” Saad also wrote that Alsaadeh specifically criticized a period that coincided with Lowe’s leave from work.

Six days later Lowe returned to work and was fired just over a month later on Feb. 25 of last year. Saad and Lowe allege that she was fired based on discrimination due to her temporary leave of absence, according to the complaint.

However, in a termination letter signed by Gold Star Chili’s district consultant David Mayerik, the cause of her termination was cited as “failure to comply with the company’s All-Star training material.” The letter also cites inconsistent inventory and controllable food costs as contributing factors.

Through the suit Lowe is seeking unspecified and specific damages, which include front and back pay, punitive damages, interest as well as court costs and attorney fees. The case was originally filed in Greenup County Circuit Court but Gold Star Chili attorney Ashley Pack of Charleston, W.Va., filed notice to remove the case to federal court.

Lowe recently made national news back in December, when she was invited by several Congresswomen to speak on restoring the long-term unemployment benefits during a media conference call. Lowe became one of the 1.3 million Americans relying on long-term unemployment to provide for their households after being terminated from Gold Star Chili. It was the first time in 31 years that Lowe was left without employment, she said.