Employee sues after receiving failing evaluations while out on medical leave

Michelle Keahey Nov. 14, 2011, 2:27am

A Caucasian employee who received two failing evaluations while on medical leave has filed a lawsuit against his employer for alleged civil rights and other violations.

Chris Lightell filed suit against Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Inc. on Nov. 3 in federal court in New Orleans.

From January 2010 through May 2010, Lightell claims he was placed on medical leave for disability dealing with his heart, lung, kidney and a surgery that occurred in May 2010.

According to the lawsuit, he was terminated on June 15, 2010 for failing two evaluations during his absence from work. Lightell states the termination was adverse employment action and argues that African-American employees were treated differently under the same or similar circumstances.

The Louisiana Department of Labor held a hearing on Nov. 15, 2010 that determined that Northrop Grumman violated company policy when it performed an evaluation of Lightell while he was on approved medical leave.

The defendant is accused of violating the Americans with Disability Act, the Family Medical Leave Act and Lightell's civil rights.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of compensatory damages for pain and suffering, punitive damages, interest and court costs.

Lightell is represented by New Orleans attorneys Willard J. Brown, Sr. and Michael E. Katz. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Ivan L. R. Lemelle is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-02735

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