An Altoona man is suing his former employers claiming he was fired for not wearing a mask at work even though he had a medical excuse.
The federal lawsuit was filed by Jonah Dorsey against Vitro Autoglass LLC in Tyrone and accuses the company of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Staff Management Solutions LLC of Chicago and Trueblue Inc. of Tacoma, Washington were named as co-defendants.
According to the suit, Dorsey began working at Vitro’s glass fabrication warehouse in Tyrone in January of 2019.
In March, Vitro temporarily shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the lawsuit.
Dorsey says he was scheduled to return to work June 21.
He claims in the lawsuit that Vitro had implemented a mandatory face-mask wearing policy which he believed was appropriate, however he was not able to wear one due to medical reasons.
According to the lawsuit, Dorsey suffers from serious respiratory problems such as Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and Sarcoidosis.
Dorsey says he also suffers from an anxiety disorder.
Dorsey claims he had to leave work a few hours after returning due to his hyperventilation and ability to breathe caused by the face mask requirement.
According to the lawsuit, Dorsey was allowed to leave for the day, but was told by his supervisor that he needed a doctor’s excuse from wearing a mask to return to work.
Dorsey claims he tried to return to work by speaking to Vitro’s Human Resources Manager and even provided medical documentation, but the company took a “no-negotiation, no-accommodation view,” and said he could not return to work without a mask.
The lawsuit claims Vitro could have “easily accommodated” Dorsey’s request as Dorsey would have been working maskless at his own peril, could have maintained four to eight feet of social distance in most situations and would have been able to wear a face shield that didn’t obstruct his breathing like a mask would.
Dorsey is asking that Vitro be prohibited from enforcing their mask policy and is seeking reimbursement for the pay he would have received had he not been terminated.