Updated: 06/25/2014 11:05 PM
Created: 06/25/2014 11:01 PM WDIO.com
By: Zach Hammer
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against a Minneapolis-based company for allegedly firing a Hibbing man because he suffered a heart attack in 2011.
The EEOC says Timothy E. Collins installed conveyor belts at the Baldwin Supply's Hibbing facility from April 2011 to July 2011.
Collins had a heart attack in July, and was released to return to work by his doctor less than a month later.
According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday, Collins called the company to let him know he was available for work. An EEOC investigation found he was only allowed to return to work for one or two days.
"We're alleging that Mr. Collins was fully capable of performing his job, notwithstanding his having had - like millions of other men - a heart attack," said John Hendrickson, regional attorney for the EEOC's Chicago District. "The problem in our view is that Baldwin Supply, having learned of the heart attack, regarded Collins as disabled and put him on the street. That's a non-starter under the Americans with Disabilities Act."
The lawsuit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.
When reached for comment on Wednesday, Baldwin Supply company president Ron Herem said they will challenge the claims in court.
Herem called it an "unfortunate situation," and the company denies Collins claims. Herem says Baldwin Supply strives to treat their company employees well, and have never faced comparable litigation in their 93-year history.
Herem declined further comment on the specifics of Collins case because of the ongoing litigation.
Baldwin Supply is a distributor of mechanical power transmission, conveyor belt, and electrical control products in the United States, according to their website.
The company has facilities in Minneapolis, Owatonna, St. Cloud and Hibbing in Minnesota, along with facilities in Fargo, Sioux Falls, and Des Moines.
Preparing for Ebola: Health System Working Together
People who work in the Northland's health system are communicating on a regular basis, to prepare for Ebola, even though it's unlikely to appear here.
St. Luke's Honored by American Heart Association
St. Luke's received three honors from the American Heart Association on Thursday, for their approach and teamwork when taking care of heart and stroke patients.
Group of Medical Pot Backers Criticizes Dayton
Advocates of expanding Minnesota's new medical marijuana program to allow more people to qualify say they have the support of every gubernatorial candidate except incumbent Democrat Mark Dayton.
Pak's Green Corner Closes Its Doors After Two Years In Business
After serving food for over two years, West Duluth's Pak's Green Corner has decided to close its doors. Owner Pak Williams said it isn't a money issue, she just wants to spend more time with her family.
First Duluth Kwik Trip Opens on Grand Avenue
The first Duluth Kwik Trip is now officially open for business. The newest one-stop shop opened Thursday on 4201 Grand Avenue in West Duluth. It's the third one in the area.