NEWTON — A Montague man who was employed by The Home Depot in Newton for nearly 22 years has filed suit against the home improvement retailer, claiming his supervisor fired him following his “poor performance” after returning to work after having suffered a heart attack.
Anthony Lepore, 57, who worked for the store from 1997 until he was fired in September 2019, lists The Home Depot U.S.A. and his then-manager as defendants in the lawsuit. The suit was filed Friday in Hudson Superior Court by Lepore’s attorney, Claudia A. Reis.
Margaret Smith, a spokeswoman for The Home Depot, said the company is “reviewing the suit and will address the claims in the proper forum.”
Lepore, who was promoted to the title of overnight freight supervisor in 1998, claims that he suffered a heart attack on June 2, 2019, underwent surgery and was out of work for about a week for treatment and to recuperate. The lawsuit states that he returned to work on “light duty” and was told that the company would accommodate him should he need time off if he wasn’t feeling well.
In early July, the suit states, Lepore underwent a second heart surgery, requiring him to take off more time to recover.
Upon his return to work, Lepore claims that “for the first time” in his employment at Home Depot, his manager issued him performance write-ups, including one for “standing too far away from the unlocked store entrance while employees entered.” Lepore claims that his manager also criticized him for sleeping during his unpaid, off-duty meal break.
On Sept. 19, 2019, Lepore said in the lawsuit, he called his supervisor to explain he would be late to work due to not feeling well. Upon his late arrival, the manager, Lepore said, advised him he was fired due to poor performance.
The lawsuit claims Lepore was discriminated against due to his disability and retaliated against because he “requested and took the reasonable accommodations of time off from work.”
He is seeking compensatory, consequential and punitive damages, the lawsuit states.
All parties have 450 days to gather evidence in the case.
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