Fired TPx Employee Ordered to Arbitrate Discrimination Claims

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A former TPx Communications accounts manager who sued the company and other entities that jointly employed him, alleging he was wrongfully fired in 2021 due to his age and for taking time off while sick with the coronavirus, must arbitrate his claims, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Randolph Hammock granted a defense motion to compel arbitration of plaintiff Jose Duran's causes of action, which include disability, age and family leave discrimination, harassment, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

"Defendants present evidence that plaintiff signed an agreement to arbitrate as the onset of his employ with defendants," according to the ruling of the judge, who placed the lawsuit on hold pending the outcome of the arbitration and scheduled a status conference for Aug. 2, 2024.

Duran, of Riverside County, was hired as an accounts manager in July 2015. TPx provides IT management services dealing with the internet, cloud communications and cybersecurity. Duran managed customer accounts, provided customer support, made onsite visits and performed other tasks to enhance retention and sales growth, with most of his work done in Los Angeles County, the suit states.

Duran, now 51, was 50 years old at the time of his firing. He took time off after he contracted the coronavirus in December 2020 with initially moderate to severe symptoms that developed into serious respiratory problems, the suit states.

Duran had asthma and was pre-diabetic, which affected his job, his breathing and his walking, the suit filed May 11 states. He also allegedly began to experience extreme anxiety, depression and other symptoms requiring him to seek professional care.

Duran was placed on leave by his medical doctors, which was extended to May 2021 and each time he provided the company with notes documenting his condition, the suit states.

In early March 2021, management held an employee meeting and said all workers on a leave of absence could be fired, according to the suit, which further states that during the following month the company's human resources manager sent an email to Duran, on leave at the time, saying that he had abandoned his job.

When Duran protested that management knew he was on medical time off, the manager admitted that the company was firing anyone who was on a leave of absence of more than 90 days, the suit states.

Instead of trying to work out something with him, the company fired Duran and he believes he was replaced by a younger employee, the suit states.

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