MIAMI, FL, May 12, 2011
Management PR News
Attorneys Pelayo Duran of The Law Office of Pelayo Duran and Roderick Hannah of Roderick V. Hannah, Esq., P.A. have filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on behalf of a former Caterpillar Logistic Services employee who claims he suffered severe workplace harassment and discrimination after he filed a workman’s compensation claim Attorneys say the case, which is set for trial August 22, 2011 before the Honorable Mark Schumaker, seeks damages for violation of Florida’s Whistleblower’s Act, unlawful retaliation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress a verdict could total several millions of dollars between the actual damages Punitive Damages, which are potentially unlimited (Case #09-89750CA05).
The plaintiff, Rudolf Amaya of Miami, said the incident took place at the Caterpillar warehouse facility in Miami Lakes, Fla. The complaint lists Amaya’s immediate supervisor Luis A. Gaston and Caterpillar’s human resources officer Carol McCartney as individual defendants.
“The defendants were fully aware that Rudolf Amaya was extremely weak and vulnerable – psychologically, emotionally, physically, and economically,” said Duran. “They knew he was suffering from severe physical injuries and ailments, all directly as a result of the injury and his continuous and severe harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.”
According to the lawsuit, Amaya suffered an on-the-job injury, specifically to the lumbar region of his back, right elbow, right forearm, fingers on his left hand, and right knee about three years ago. Amaya’s lawyers said he obtained worker’s compensation benefits after seeking medical attention.
“When he returned to work, Caterpillar asked him to sign certain paperwork that included a document requesting him to waive his rights to make a claim against the company and to accept full responsibility for his injuries,” said Hannah. “He refused to sign the paperwork, notwithstanding efforts by Caterpillar’s administration and head of security to intimidate and coerce him to do so. As a result, he was informed by Caterpillar that he would be suspended indefinitely without pay.
“Amaya was called back to work a few days later, although the doctor informed him that he was in worse physical condition and should limit strenuous activity,” said Duran. “Throughout the rest of his employment, Gaston, his immediate supervisor, subjected him to harsh and constant harassment such as over-scrutinizing his work and complaining about petty matters he would also force him to engage in strenuous activity while ignoring of the doctors orders” He also threatened him that he would loose your job if he did not follow his orders.
According to the lawsuit, Amaya filed a complaint with McCartney who worked in Caterpillar’s human resources department, but the harassment continued. During that time, Amaya learned that he had suffered a herniated disc in his lumbar region, a tearing of the meniscus of his right knee and of the ligament in his right elbow, attorneys said.
The lawsuit claims that the light duty jobs assigned to Amaya were to sweep toxic materials and dust in the warehouse without adequate protection and safety equipment.
“As a result of his exposure to breathing these toxic materials, he suffered a second on-the-job injury,” said Hannah. “He was diagnosed with allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and upper respiratory inflammation, and received further worker’s compensation benefits.”
“Even after Mr. Amaya filed another complaint with the HR department, the matter was never investigated,” said Duran. “In the end, Caterpillar managers terminated him because he refused to sign documents releasing all claims against the company arising out of his injuries and complaints.”
Attorneys said Amaya continues to suffer from physical and emotional pain and injuries related to the reported harassment at Caterpillar.