Man suing Chesterton business for firing him
By Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org November 29, 2012 4:06PM
Updated: January 1, 2013 6:29AM
A Lake County man says in a federal lawsuit that the Chesterton company he worked for tried to claim he was suicidal before firing him.
Ronald J. Gellinger is now suing Air Products and Chemicals Inc. for $1 million in damages.
A representative for Air Products said the company had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.
Gellinger claims he was verbally attacked by another employee at work on Aug. 27 and that he volunteered to go home until a supervisor, Gregory Trevillian, could calm things down.
Gellinger called back later that day to say he would rather “hang himself” before coming back to a work environment with violent people.
He maintains in the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Hammond, that he was not being literal when he said that but using it as a “term of art.”
His supervisor called 911 about 32 hours later, however, to report him suicidal. When Lake County Sheriff’s Department police checked on him, they determined he was fine and left, according to the lawsuit.
His supervisor still required Gellinger to undergo a psychological evaluation before returning to work, so he visited Choices Counseling Services on Aug. 31.
“... The psychologist determined from her interview with plaintiff that he was not a threat to himself or others and that he was just frustrated over the lack of defendant’s ability to diffuse a threatening situation with the co-worker,” the suit states.
Despite the OK to return to work, he was told the same day that he was fired. The lawsuit says Air Products violated his Family and Medical Leave Act and disability rights. It also says that Air Products fired the employee who verbally attacked Gellinger but then rehired him.