The wife of a Bucks County man has filed a federal discrimination suit against a New Jersey pork roll producer, claiming her husband was fired for farting too much.
Richard Clem, of Levittown, weighed about 420 pounds when he began work in 2008 as a part-time administrative assistant at the Case Pork Roll Co. in Trenton. In October 2010, Clem underwent gastric bypass surgery for his obesity. The procedure, which is designed to reduce the size of the stomach, often comes with embarrassing side-effects. Clem was stricken by "extreme gas and uncontrollable diarrhea," according to the suit.
Clem's symptoms worsened in 2013 and caused "significant disruption in the workplace," according to the suit.
The president of the company, Thomas Dolan, allegedly complained about Clem's flatulence to the company's owner and to Clem's wife, Luann, who worked alongside her husband.
"This can't go on," Dolan purportedly said to Luann Clem. "Tell Rich we are getting complaints from visitors who have problems with the odors."
Dolan continued to complain until he fired Richard Clem on Feb. 28, 2014, according to the suit. The same day, Luann Clem quit in protest.
The company's owner, Tom Grieb, told mycentraljersey.com that Richard Clem was not fired. Grieb said business was faltering when he asked the Clems to take a pay cut and the pair quit.
"They were never discriminated against," Grieb told the website. "Even I took a pay cut. He refused and he just walked out. That was the end of it."
Clem's attorney, David M. Koller of Philadelphia, could not be reached for comment.
In the suit, filed Sept. 11 in U.S. District Court in Camden, Luann Clem said that in firing her husband, Case Pork Roll Co. violated the American's with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. She is seeking unspecified damages.