Brooks Investments, Inc. – Handicap Discrimination, Employee, Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Brooks Investments, Inc. – Handicap Discrimination, Employee, Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Brooks Investments caseIN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE
EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
IN AND FOR BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA

FONDA E. MOORE-HARMON

Plaintiff,
Case No.:
vs.

C. E. BROOKS INVESTMENTS, INC.

Defendant.

COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

JURISDICTION AND VENUE
Plaintiff, FONDA E. MOORE-HARMON, by and through her undersigned attorney, sues Defendant, C.E. BROOKS INVESTMENTS, INC., and alleges the following:
1. This is an action for damages in which the matter in controversy exceeds Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000.00), exclusive of interest, costs, and attorney’s fees.
2. The unlawful employment practices alleged below were committed in Brevard County, Florida.

PARTIES
3. Plaintiff, FONDA E. MOORE-HARMON (hereinafter “MOORE-HARMON”), currently resides in Brevard County, Florida, and at all times material herein resided in Brevard County, Florida.
4. Defendant, C.E. BROOKS INVESTMENTS, INC. (hereinafter C.E. BROOKS), is a corporation, doing business in the State of Florida, in Brevard County, which at the time of the acts complained of herein employed fifty or more persons and was engaged in an industry affecting commerce.
5. Plaintiff was employed by Defendant when she was terminated on or about December 28, 1998, after working approximately four years for Defendant.
6. Plaintiff was Assistant General Manager of the Econo Lodge in Cocoa, Florida, at the time of her termination, which was owned and operated by Defendant.
7. At all times, Plaintiff performed all duties assigned to her in a professionally competent manner, faithfully followed all reasonable instructions given to her by her supervisors, and abided by all the rules and regulations of Defendant.
8. Plaintiff has suffered severe mental anguish and emotional distress as a result of Defendant’s actions.
9. Plaintiff has retained the undersigned attorney and agreed to pay him a reasonable fee.
10. Plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies prior to bringing this action
11. Plaintiff has complied with all conditions precedent prior to bringing this action.

COUNT I
DISCRIMINATION BASED ON HANDICAP
STATE CLAIM
12. Plaintiff incorporates and realleges paragraphs 1 through 11 above, as fully as if set forth in full herein.
13. This action is brought pursuant to Section 760.10, Florida Statutes, the Florida Civil Rights Act.
14. On June 1, 1999, Plaintiff filed a claim with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (attached hereto as Exhibit “A”) and more than one hundred eighty (180) days have passed since the filing of said complaint. The Florida Commission on Human Relations has failed to take final action on Plaintiff, MOORE-HARMON’S complaint. The claim was jointly filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (attached hereto as Exhibit “B”).
15. During Plaintiff’s employment with Defendant, Plaintiff had one or more handicaps, physical disabilities or impairments that substantially limited one or more of the major life activities of the Plaintiff. Specifically, Plaintiff suffered from Bell’s Palsy, a neurological condition that developed on or about December 21, 1998.
16. Plaintiff has a record of having Bell’s Palsy on or about December 21, 1998.
17. Plaintiff was regarded by Defendant as having a disability and was treated by the defendant as having an impairment that substantially limits on one or more of Plaintiff’s major life activities.
18. In spite of her handicap and disability, Plaintiff was able to perform all of the essential functions of her job, or could have done so with reasonable accommodation of allowing plaintiff to take limited time off from work as per her doctor’s orders.
19. Defendant intended to and did discriminate against Plaintiff on the basis of her handicap by failing and refusing to allow Plaintiff to take limited time off per her doctor’s orders, or otherwise reasonably accommodate Plaintiff’s handicap.
20. Defendant intended to and did discriminate against Plaintiff on the basis of her handicap by continuing to require Plaintiff to work when her doctor ordered her to take time off due to her disability.
21. Defendant failed to accommodate Plaintiff’s disability and terminated her on or about December 27, 1998 because of her handicap.
22. By discriminating in such fashion against Plaintiff based upon her handicap, Defendant violated Section 760.10, Florida Statutes, which makes it unlawful for an employer to “discharge or to fail or refuse to hire any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s handicap .”
23. By discriminating against Plaintiff based on her handicap, Defendant engaged in a discriminatory practice with malice and reckless indifference to the statutorily protected rights of Plaintiff.
24. As a result of Defendant discriminating against Plaintiff on account of her handicap, Plaintiff has suffered damages consisting of severe emotional distress, loss of salary, and other compensation.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendant, for all damages to which she may be entitled, including, without limitation:
a. Judgement for back pay and front pay, with increases to which she would be entitled had she not been unlawfully discharged; expenses incurred by Plaintiff in her job search and loss of benefits, including but not limited to, all money paid for health benefits, all money paid for medical expenses and loss of vacation entitlement;
b. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries;
c. Punitive damages;
d. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein; and,
e. Such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper.

COUNT II

DISCRIMINATION BASED UPON DISABILITY

FEDERAL CLAIM

25. This is an action for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq.
26. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates paragraphs 1 through 11 and 14 through 21 of this Complaint as if set forth in full herein.
27. Plaintiff filed a formal complaint with the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on June 1, 1999. (A copy of Plaintiff’s EEOC complaint is attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit “B”.) The U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued Plaintiff a Notice of Right to Sue on June 7, 2000, (attached hereto as Exhibit “C”), which Plaintiff received on June 9, 2000.
28. By discriminating in such fashion against Plaintiff based upon her disability, Defendant violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq., which makes it unlawful for an employer to discharge or otherwise discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability, with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s disability.
29. By discriminating against Plaintiff on the basis of her disability, Defendant engaged in a discriminatory practice with malice and reckless indifference to the statutorily protected rights of Plaintiff.
30. As a result of Defendant discriminating against Plaintiff on account of her disability, Plaintiff has suffered damages consisting or severe emotional distress, loss of salary, and other compensation.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendant, for all damages to which she may be entitled, including, without limitation:
a. Judgement for back pay and front pay, with increases to which she would be entitled had she not been unlawfully discharged; expenses incurred by Plaintiff in her job search and loss of benefits, including but not limited to, all money paid for health benefits, all money paid for medical expenses and loss of vacation entitlement;
b. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries;
c. Punitive damages;
d. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein; and,
e. Such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper.

COUNT III
VIOLATION OF THE FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT
31. Plaintiff incorporates and realleges paragraphs 1 through 11 above, as fully as if set forth in full herein.
32. This action is brought pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), of 1993, 29 U.S.C. Sections 2601 -2654, to obtain relief for denial of benefits and termination from employment in violation of the FMLA.
33. Plaintiff was employed by Defendant in excess of 12 months and for at least 1250 hours over the 12 months prior to denial of her benefits under the FMLA.
34. Defendant employed in excess of 50 employees.
35. Plaintiff became afflicted with Bell’s Palsy on or about December 21, 1998 and was ordered by her doctor to take time off from her job.
36. She informed Defendant of her illness and her doctor’s order that she take time off to heal. Plaintiff provided defendant with a doctor’s note that was delivered to her employer by her husband.
37. She requested time off under the FMLA, which was denied and she was terminated in violation of the FMLA.
38. Defendant’s actions against Plaintiff in violation of the FMLA were done wantonly, maliciously, willfully and with intent to do harm to Plaintiff.
39. Plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer grave and severe damage to her financial and emotional welfare, by reason of Defendant’s unlawful actions against Plaintiff.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendant, as follows:
a. Judgement for back pay and front pay, with increases to which she would be entitled had she not been unlawfully discharged; expenses incurred by Plaintiff in her job search and loss of benefits, including but not limited to, all money paid for health benefits, all money paid for medical expenses and loss of vacation entitlement;
b. Compensatory damages, including, but not limited to, damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, and any other intangible injuries;
c. Punitive damages;
d. An additional amount as liquidated damages.
e. An award of reasonable attorney’s fees and all costs incurred herein; and,
f. Such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper.

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
Plaintiff demands a jury trial on all issues herein triable by jury.
DATED: This ____ day of July, 2000.

___________________________
Wayne L. Allen, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 110025
Adrienne E. Trent, Esquire
Florida Bar No. 060119
Attorneys For Plaintiff
Wayne L. Allen & Associates, P.A.
700 N. Wickham Road, Suite 107
Melbourne, Florida 32935
Phone: (321) 254-7550
Fax: (321) 242-1681

Attorney: Maurice Arcadier
Status: Closed
Date Filed: 07/06/2000

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