A former employee of a New Jersey pork roll company, allegedly fired for farting too often while on duty, has inspired a lawsuit filed by his wife.
Richard Clem, 70, whose wife, Louann, obviously has his back despite his purported chronic flatulence, was given his walking papers back in February, 2014. Louann also worked for the pork roll producing enterprise, Case Pork Roll Company, based in Trenton, New Jersey, reports the Huffington Post.
But after her husband Richard Clem was let go from the Case Pork Roll Company on February 28, 2014, after several months of severe farting issues and being accused of stinking up the office, Louann Clem also jumped the pork roll Company ship the same day, citing “the harassment and discrimination her husband faced as a result of his disability and the resulting symptoms,” reports NJ 101.5.
According to Louann Clem’s court filing, Richard’s being fired for farting violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Richard Clem is letting rip his own personal legal pursuit of justice via the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Case Pork Roll Company hired Richard Clem in 2004, not anticipating that years later they’d feel compelled to fire their new recruit for farting and fouling the office environment, upsetting both Case Pork Roll Company employees and clients alike.
Richard Clem was proud of his work at the Case Pork Roll Company, and his role as their comptroller.
“I brought them into the 21st century,” says Clem.
At the time of his hire, Richard Clem weighed in at a significant 420 pounds, but it wasn’t until later that the chronic farting and emergency diarrhea situations would become a problem for him.
In 2010, years after starting employment with the Case Pork Roll Company, Clem got gastric bypass surgery in an effort to get his weight under control and down to a healthier level. And it worked; Richard lost over 100 pounds. But along with the welcome weight loss came the chronic farting issues, unruly episodes of diarrhea, and ultimately the complaints from company clients and staff.
In fact, by 2013, as outlined in the lawsuit, Richard Clem had begun to suffer such extreme gas, farting and other issues, that his windy condition caused “significant disruption in the workplace.”
The lawsuit fired off by Louann Clemm at the Case Pork Roll Company includes allegations that company president, Thomas Dolan, gave the Clems, who worked together, a consistent and really hard time for Richard’s farting problem, right up to the day Richard was canned, Louann cutting herself loose from the company shortly thereafter.
Along with Dolan, the company’s owner, Thomas Greib, also allegedly harassed Louann Clem, letting fly comments like, “We have to do something about Rich,” or, “We cannot run an office and have visitors with an odor in the office… Tell Rich we are having complaints from people who have problems with the odors.”
As for the attention the Clem fired-for-farting lawsuits have garnered, it’s all caught the Clems off guard.
“When the suit was filed, I didn’t know it would go viral,” Clem told the Huffington Post. “I was very surprised.”
According to the lawyer fighting on behalf of the Clems, David Koller, the farting may be the “sexy part” of the lawsuit, but at the core of the case are gastrointestinal issues suffered by Clem that legally give him a pass and protection from his farting via the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Flatulence and farting is the sexy part of the story,” said Koller. “But my client suffers from obesity, which is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
As for Louann Clem’s case against the Case Pork Roll Company, it cites pain and suffering, compensatory and punitive damages.
For Richard Clem, the onus of his office farting and dealing with the unpleasant results actually should fall on his fellow employees and other visitors to his workplace, with “training programs” being a possible answer for dealing with similar future office farting scenarios. Clem also says his weight, and presumably the related farting, didn’t hurt his job performance.
“I’m speaking up for people who are overweight,” said Clem, focusing on his weight issue rather than any farting. “Does being obese mean you can’t do a good job? Of course not!”
But according to California criminal defense attorney, Mark Davis, Clem’s farting really is at the center of the problem.
“I don’t know if his employers could help with reasonable accommodations because he’s making it uncomfortable for other employees,” Davis told the Huffington Post, also noting that Clem’s gastrointestinal issues would affect his company duties. “Plus, his explosive bouts of diarrhea make it hard for him to do his job.”
In the end, while being fired for having farting and/or other gastrointestinal issues at work may seem unfair, the situation isn’t exactly a gas for everyone else in the office either. What do you think?
[Images via Google and Getty Images]