Richard Clem has found himself in a stinky situation. He just filed a lawsuit against his employer for passing too much gas at work. The 70-year-old man worked at Case Pork Roll Company of Trenton, New Jersey. According to court documents he was let go in February 2014 for excessive flatulence.
Clem’s wife, Louann claims that her husband’s termination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. They are taking legal action through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“When the suit was filed, I didn’t know it would go viral,” Clem told business reporters at The Huffington Post. “I was very surprised.”
Richard Clem became an employee for Case Pork Roll in 2004 as a comptroller, feels that he did an excellent job. “I brought them into the 21st century,” he proudly told reporters.
When he was originally hired, Clem weighed more than 400 pounds, until he underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2010, to reduce his own porky belly.
Clem lost nearly 120 pounds, but also suffered some embarrassing side effects, including “extreme gas and uncontrollable diarrhea.” When his symptoms worsened in 2013, they allegedly caused “significant disruption in the workplace.” Co-workers reported that the company president Thomas Dolan constantly complained about Clem’s gassy problem.
The lawsuit alleges that Dolan required Clem work from home and claimed that he was getting complaints from people about the odors. He also made comments such as “We can’t run an office and have visitors with the odor in the office.”
Clem’s lawyer, David Koller, stated that his client’s gastrointestinal disorders may be getting all the press, but they aren’t the central aspect of the case.
“Flatulence and farting is the sexy part of the story, but my client suffers from obesity, which is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Koller explained.
The Clems are seeking damages from their employer including pain and suffering, compensatory damages and punitive damages. Richard Clem has also made demands that other company employees complete training programs that will help avoid future incidents from occurring.
“I’m speaking up for people who are overweight,” he said. “Does being obese mean you can’t do a good job? Of course not!”
Criminal defense attorney Mark Davis, however, doesn’t feel that the “fart lawsuit” is likely to pass the smell test. As he explained: “I don’t know if his employers could help with reasonable accommodations because he’s making it uncomfortable for other employees.”
“Plus, his explosive bouts of diarrhea make it hard for him to do his job.”