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Depressed gas worker wins $1.8 million in ADA case

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

An Atlantic City jury has awarded Scott Jones of Margate $1.8 million in his suit against his former employer, South Jersey Gas. The company dismissed Jones just over a year ago, claiming poor work performance as the reason.

The dismissal came just before his 20th anniversary with the company.

Jones claimed his poor performance was due to his battle with depression and that the company failed to discuss accommodations of his condition, in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.

According to court documents, Jones approached his supervisor three months before his termination, claiming he was having trouble concentrating. The supervisor referred him to the company’s employee assistance program. Jones agreed to release his counseling records to his supervisor to assist with finding appropriate accommodations. But according to Jones, the supervisor never discussed accommodations before terminating him.

In court, the employer claimed it terminated Jones because he made no sales during his last four months there. In response, Jones pointed out that the company stood to gain over $150,000 in future pension payments if it terminated him, because the company no longer offers new employees pension benefits. Further, he alleged the difference between his $93,000 salary and a replacement’s starting salary proved too strong a temptation for the employer.

The jury agreed and awarded him $1.1 million in emotional damages and $720,544 in economic damages.

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