What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? New York
Yesterday, I was fired from my job as a mechanic for a large landscape/ lawn care company. During the meeting with the owner, mention was made of two areas which lead me to believe that I was wrongfully fired in violation of both Federal and New York State Labor Laws.
The owner cited an incident in which a track had come off of a small excavator machine out on a job site. I had responded to this service call, but had asked one of the crew members to do the necessary prying on the heavy track (approximately 500 lbs) since I have an inguinal hernia and cannot physically do that type of heavy lifting or prying. When I was hired, the owner knew of my hernia -- in fact, at the time of hire I was scheduled for hernia repair surgery which had to be re-scheduled at the owner's insistence. The surgery later fell through & was canceled, but the owner was definitely aware of my disability at the time he hired me. In any case, this was specifically cited as one reason for my firing.
I also suspect age discrimination. I am 52 years old, and cannot move as quickly as a person half my age. I was the oldest person employed by this company, with the remainder of the employees being under the age of 35. While the owner did not specifically cite my age as a reason for my firing, he did cite my inability to move as fast as the rest of the employees.
If it makes any difference, the owner did offer a good reference -- in his words, "You're a great mechanic". He is also paying me out for the remainder of the week (a standard 40-hour week instead of the 46-52 hour weeks I have been getting).
My question is do I have a good case for age or disability discrimination against my former employer, and could there be substantial monetary damages?