Executive sues Louisiana company after losing his job

Michelle Massey Dec. 27, 2010, 2:20am

A senior executive of a Louisiana company claims he was terminated from his position due to age discrimination and in retaliation for filing a worker's compensation claim.

Randal A. Schulte filed a lawsuit against Kinetic Concepts Inc. and KCI USA Inc. on Nov. 8 in Jefferson Parish District Court. The defendant removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on Dec. 22.

Schulte states he began working at KCI in 1989 as an account coordinator selling medical supplies. He worked for the defendant until March 3, when he claims he was wrongfully terminated based on his age, disability, filing a worker's compensation claim and for reporting sexual harassment to the company's human resources department.

According to the lawsuit, Schulte sustained injuries from a work-related accident when a conference chair collapsed causing him to fall. The incident aggravated a pre-existing lumbar condition which had previously required a back surgery.

He states the injury prevented him from enduring prolonged periods of walking, sitting, or standing. Schulte states his supervisor became increasingly critical of Schulte's job performance and the supervisor's other workplace behavior downgraded. The suit alleges that the supervisor encouraged inappropriate, sexist comments and encouraged sophomoric pranks as a means to discriminate against Schulte and other workers.

A day after Schulte's workers' compensation claim was settled, he was terminated from his employment with the defendant.

The defendant is accused of violating the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law, violations of Louisiana statutes and violation of Louisiana Whistleblower Protection Law.

The plaintiff is seeking general damages for wrongful termination, compensatory damages, back pay, lost employment benefits, front pay, attorney's fees, court costs and interest.

Schulte is represented by Ronald J. White and Michael D. Letourneau of Murphy, Rogers, Sloss & Gambel in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

Case No. 2:10-cv-04606

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