CAPE GIRARDEAU – A court has ruled that a Wentzville union worker's suit against TVS Supply Chain Solutions over allegations of retaliation will remain in federal court.
According to the July 25 U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri Eastern Division filing, plaintiff Gregory Lawrence filed a motion to remand his case against defendant TVS Supply Chain Solutions North America Inc. and others back to St. Charles County Circuit Court. The federal court denied the motion.
"The court will exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff’s retaliation claim because it is 'so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy' 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a)," Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. stated in the decision.
The suit involves Lawrence, who suffers from disabilities including post-traumatic stress disorder and a type of T-cell lymphoma that causes skin lesions, and his request for an accommodation. The suit also involves a job layoff that was part of a collective bargaining agreement with the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of American Local Union 282. He was hired by TVS as a materials analyst at the Wentzville facility in 2016.
As part of a collective bargaining agreement regarding the company's downsizing with the Local Union 282, TVS made three shifts available to workers. The order states Lawrence requested an accommodation for the third shift in order for him to undergo treatments during the day and because night shifts reduced his PTSD episodes. While he was eventually granted a third shift slot, he claims he was retaliated against and laid off for his accommodation request and because he had also filed a sexual harassment complaint against one of his supervisors.
TVS argues that as part of its collective bargaining with the Local Union 282, the layoffs went by who had the least seniority with the company. About a month later, Lawrence was rehired on the third shift.
"Accordingly, plaintiff simply cannot set out to prove that the adverse actions taken against him were 'because of' his disability without a concomitant determination of the applicability of the labor agreements," Limbaugh stated in the decision.