From Mad World: After three years of working at a West Virginia Home Depot, Christopher Scalf’s employment was suddenly terminated, effective immediately. When the military veteran discovered why the company was letting him go, he was in complete shock and quickly reached out to an attorney.
Scalf spent five years valiantly serving our country, 15 months of which were fighting in Iraq. When he got back to Teays Valley, West Virginia, he got to work, getting a job at the massive home improvement store. He decided to apply at the retail giant in part because they encourage disabled vets to apply, which Scalf is, and the store has proudly campaigned that they hire soldiers upon returning home from war.
When in Iraq, Scalf reportedly sustained a number of detrimental injuries — specifically, a traumatic brain injury and PTSD, after being hit 12 times with a roadside bomb and being involved in multiple gun fights. As a result, the vet now suffers episodes of severe headaches that are so debilitating that he can’t even open his eyes at times.
As part of catering to Americas war heroes, Home Depot has an additional page to the application for vets to fill out. Scalf completed this portion when he applied for the job, noting his injuries and occasional conditions he suffers as a result. It was no surprise that he was a wounded vet, who was considered to be disabled, and the store hired him on, only to rescind on that decision three years later, allegedly without warning.
In the time Scalf worked for the store, he would have to call out of some of his shifts when he would be hit with debilitating migraines, which he said he had informed the store about on his application. But missing work for this reason was more than the store could deal with and ultimately terminated the vet because of it, according to Scalf’s claim.
“While he is at [work] he would get headaches, and instead of providing some reasonable accommodations, Home Depot simply terminated his employment,” Matt Plants, Scalf’s attorney, told WCHS.
Now, this soldier is fighting for his rights once again, this time against the home improvement company for disability discrimination. Scalf and his attorney filed a lawsuit against Home Depot on August 20 for the discrimination and breach of contract in 2013, according to the West Virginia Record.
In the suit, Scalf claims that his former employer was inconsistent with their sick leave policy, applying discriminatory expectations of him, as compared to able-bodied employees. He also accused the store of shorting him on his final pay, not cutting a check for the full wage owed him in that period, as is required by law.
Home Depot has defended their decision to fire Scalf, claiming he was not terminated for any reason relating to his veteran status. The store went on to say that they have hired over 30,000 veterans and active duty members, but no word on how many of those were fired. Plants said that Scalf was an excellent employee and the store failed to accommodate his special needs.
“These allegations are particularly concerning when you’re dealing with a company that is campaigning that they’re hiring disabled veterans,” Plants said. Now, the lawyer is concerned for other veterans who may have also been mistreated by Home Depot, after the company benefited from their campaign of hiring vets. Many Americans may have decided to shop there, as opposed to their competitors, because they respected the fact that they gave these heroes a job upon returning home. When as in Scalf’s case, it seems to have been all done in vain.