Plano, TX: A former employee of Cincinnati-based grocery chain The Kroger Co, has filed a discrimination and harassment lawsuit in federal court based on claims Kroger fired him because of his mental and physical disabilities, and despite his multiple commendations and a successful work history.
Plano resident Karl Tipple, 24, filed the suit on September 5 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Plano, case number 4:12-CV-00573, after receiving Right to Sue Letters from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Texas Workforce Commission.
The lawsuit alleges that the manager of Kroger Store 581, located in the 2900 block of Custer Road in Plano, repeatedly harassed Mr. Tipple for more than a year, including referring to Mr. Tipple on numerous occasions as a "f------ retarded idiot" who was "too stupid to live."
Mr. Tipple, who began working at another Kroger location more than six years ago, suffers from an attention-deficit disorder and partial deafness, and has an IQ that allows him to read and write on a third-grade level. He was transferred to Kroger's Custer Road location in November 2010 as an Assistant Bakery Manager, but was quickly demoted to a checker and bagger position and was forced to file multiple grievances to gain full-time employment from his supervisors.
According to the lawsuit, the store manager frequently yelled at Mr. Tipple on the sales floor, forced him to work alone on certain tasks, brought unsubstantiated allegations against him from other employees, and ultimately filed a false customer complaint that was later withdrawn. In addition, the manager confiscated Mr. Tipple's personal cell phone, apparently believing that the phone was being used to document violations of corporate and union policies by the manager and other employees. Until his firing in December 2011, Mr. Tipple served as the youngest elected Steward of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in Kroger's history.
The plaintiff is represented by the Kendall Law Group.