A complaint filed in the Superior Court of New Britain, Conn. alleges that former ESPN employee Anne-Marie Gray was fired as a result of a disability. The plaintiff names this disability as IBS or irritable bowel syndrome.
Hired as one of the original 72 employees in 1980, Gray received a promotion in March of 2008. While employed, the plaintiff allegedly suffered from IBS, a disorder of the intestines which causes stomach pain, cramping and diarrhea. Once her doctor retired, Gray could not fill her prescriptions and alleges she visited a walk-in clinic but was told without a medical workup, the clinic could not prescribe medications for her.
The lawsuit states that during the time the plaintiff was trying to obtain medical help, she was experiencing stress at her job which aggravated her IBS. While trying to obtain a doctor, Gray’s symptoms allegedly worsened.
The complaint says the plaintiff feared she would not make it to the restroom so “she went to a small meeting room close to her work area, locked the door, defecated in a garbage can (which had a plastic garbage bag in it) and then disposed of the garbage bag by wrapping it in a second plastic bag.” Gray says in the complaint, she allegedly did this approximately six different times and was too embarrassed to tell anyone.
On March, 20, 2009, the suit stated the plaintiff was brought to the Personnel Director’s office (Donna Hrisko). Hrisko told Gray that the defendant had discovered someone was disposing of excrement in the garbage and that ESPN thought it was a disgruntled employee.”
The lawsuit further states the director told the plaintiff that “ESPN had installed a camera in the meeting room that was being used and discovered it was the plaintiff.”
Gray alleges she tried to explain her situation to the director but was suspended one week without pay. The complaint claims Hrisko told her not to worry “because Hrisko would fight for the plaintiff given her perfect record for 30 years.”
Afterwards, the suit claims Gray finally visited a doctor who gave her medication and also allegedly wrote a letter to ESPN informing the company the plaintiff was under his care for IBS, describing how the illness works.
On March 26, the plaintiff was called back to Hrisko’s office for further questioning about the ailment and medication. Gray gave the letter from the doctor to the Hrisko as well as showing him the medications she was now on for the illness. The suit states Hrisko asked the plaintiff why she didn’t tell anyone previously to which the plaintiff explained she was embarrassed and thought since she would be seeing the doctor soon and would have the situation under control.
The plaintiff claims ESPN contacted her March 27 and requested she come to the office March 30.
The complaint reads on that date Gray “met with her immediate boss and the Human Resource Director, who told the plaintiff that she was being terminated for willful misconduct. They told the plaintiff the situation was not for discussion and would not be reversed.”
Gray claims in the complaint that until that point, in the 30 years of working for the company, she had never been disciplined and had never received not even one reprimand.
She is suing ESPN is for three counts; (1) Discriminatory termination, (2) Violation of the Connecticut Wage status and (3) Willful violation of Connecticut wage statute.
Gray is reportedly asking for over $15,000 in damages.
The Williamson Daily News could not reach Gray’s lawyer or ESPN’s legal department for comment.