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Ground zero worker claims wrongful termination due to sick leave

Employers in New York and elsewhere have certain expectations of their employees. Additionally, employees have specific expectations regarding their treatment in the workplace. These stem from employee rights and civil laws that protect employees from mistreatment, discrimination and wrongful discharge.

According to recent reports, a New York man filed a wrongful termination lawsuit. The 45-year-old man is a former mechanic for Con Edison and spent much time working in lower Manhattan following the attacks on September 11, 2001. This employee was among several Con Ed employees that worked double shifts in the weeks following the attacks.

As a result from his work near ground zero, the employee developed chronic bronchitis. Additionally, he claims that his heart attack at age 38 was related to his work at ground zero. Years following his work at ground zero, the employee developed job-related ailments that required him to take several sick days. However, the man's boss complained that he was taking too much time off and later fired him.

Based on the claim, the employee took 36 sick days from his work after the September 11 attacks up until his firing in May of 2016. These sick days were frequently used for doctor visits and treatment of his ailments. The employee noted that he has no problem taking sick days for his job-related illnesses until a new set of bosses took charge in 2015.

The new bosses suspended him that November for five days without pay because of his illness-related absences. And after bringing in a doctor's note the following May stating that he needed to miss several days of work to treatment, he was fired on the spot.

Whether you were wrongfully terminated or are dealing with other employment law issues, it is important to understand your situation and what recourses you might have. Taking action could penalize an employer and even help you recover compensation for last wages and damages.

Source:, "Former Con Ed worker claims 9/11-related illness caused wrongful termination, suit alleges," Andrew Keshner, May 29, 2017

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