A New Jersey man was fired from his job at the Case Pork Roll Company located in Trenton, New Jersey, after he was reportedly unable to keep his workplace flatulence in check. His wife Louann, also an employee of the factory, quit the same day he was fired "because of the harassment and discrimination her husband faced as a result of his disability and the resulting symptoms," according to NJ101.5.
Louann Clem then proceeded to file a lawsuit against the Case Pork Roll Company, seeking damages that include pain and suffering, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. She alleged that the company's owner, Thomas Greib, harassed her with comments like, "We have to do something about Rich," and "We cannot run an office and have visitors with an odor in the office."
Richard supported his wife's lawsuit, which stated that his termination was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and sought additional legal action via the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "When the suit was filed, I didn't know it would go viral," he told The Huffington Post. "I was very surprised."
When he was hired, Richard Clem weighed around 420 pounds. But after undergoing gastric bypass surgery in October 2010, Clem began experiencing some unfortunate side effects, including "extreme gas and uncontrollable diarrhea." He lost over 100 pounds, but those symptoms caused "significant disruption in the workplace," according to the lawsuit.
Richard and Louann Clem's lawyer, David Coller, said that Rich's embarrassing gastro dysfunction may have gotten a lot of attention and laughs, but the core of his case was about discrimination against the obese. "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 said.
Regarding his own case, Clem asserted, "I'm speaking up for people who are overweight. Does being obese mean you can't do a good job? Of course not!"
But according to the NY Daily News, a federal judge ruled that the Clems' discrimination lawsuit was unable to prove that his managers had created an abusive work environment. The case was tossed out at the beginning of this year, and the couple was not awarded any damages. The silver lining, however, is that Clem reports his bowel distress has considerably lessened due to taking medicine. "I feel better, but there goes my reputation," he said. "Who wants to hire a fart boy?" Do you agree with the judge's ruling? What would you have done if you were Clem's boss? Would you ever hire a "fart boy?" Let us know in the comments down below!
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