Man saw online ad for ex-job weeks after being fired due to 'slow' business
|Retaliation, Employment - Wrongful Termination, Workers' Compensation|
|Isidoro Martinez v. Fire Control Electric Systems, No. ESX-L-5823-10|
|Essex County Superior Court, NJ|
|James S. Rothschild Jr.
- Darren J. Del Sardo; Damico, Del Sardo & Montanari, LLC; Woodland Park, NJ, for Isidoro Martinez
- William R. McClure; Picinich & McClure; Rochelle Park, NJ, for Fire Control Electric Systems
On Dec. 27, 2007, plaintiff Isidoro Martinez, 40, was injured while working as a fire-alarm service technician for Fire Control Electric Systems. Martinez was out of work for a little over a year after being injured, and during that time he received workers' compensation benefits and underwent surgery on March 18, 2008.
Martinez claimed that he was cleared to return to work on Jan. 30, 2009, but that when he notified his employer of his ability to return to his job, he was informed that work was slow and that there was no position available. He was terminated effective as of the date of his inquiry about returning to work.
During the course of looking for work, on Feb. 24, 2009, Martinez claimed, he came upon a job posting on an employment Web site for a position at Fire Control Electric Systems, indicating the firm was in immediate need of a fire-alarm service technician.
Martinez then sued Fire Control Electric Systems for wrongful termination. His lawsuit claimed that he was wrongfully retaliated against for availing himself of workers' compensation benefits. Martinez argued that the timing and placement of the online job posting belied the pretextual explanation given to him by Fire Control Electric as to why he could not return to work. Martinez further reasoned that his work record while employed by the company had been stellar.
The defense argued that the placement of the online ad did not, in and of itself, mean that the decision not to re-engage Martinez on Jan. 30, 2009 because work had been slow was pretextual.
Martinez sought compensatory damages for the wages he lost from the date he was terminated up until the date of the jury verdict.
The jury determined that Martinez's termination had been retaliatory, and awarded Martinez damages totaling $133,021.
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls.