Court finds for Smith & Wesson in employee discrimination case

Smith & Wesson was one of the busiest booths on the SHOT Show floor, as they debuted not only the 2.0, but several other handguns as well. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

File: Smith & Wesson was one of the busiest booths on the SHOT Show floor, as the company debuted several new and popular handguns. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

A Massachusetts court last month found that Springfield-based Smith & Wesson did not discriminate one of its workers whose employment had been terminated after he took medical leave.

Terrell Bostick said the gun maker violated the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act when it fired him on May 28, 2014, for taking time off for his anxiety, for which Bostick had been receiving treatment, according to court documents.

Smith & Wesson contended that Bostick had, in fact, failed to provide medical documentation for an extension to the unpaid leave the gun maker provided to its employee on March 18, 2014, a day after he “abruptly left the job and handed his badge to a security guard,” court documents say.

Because Bostick did not file the proper paperwork for the extension, Smith & Wesson, after repeated requests for that paperwork, determined he terminated his employment.    

Bostick worked for the company assembling firearms on the third shift. His job took concentration and required him to work “quickly and efficiently,” court documents say.   

One day, a few months before Bostick abruptly left work, the first shift team leader noticed Bostick walking in the middle of the street near the Smith & Wesson facility around 3 a.m. He was “carrying a bag containing personal items, including clippers, deodorant, cologne, condoms, a shirt, and shoes,” court documents say.

Though Bostick was not accused of stealing when he returned to work at about 5 a.m., he claimed he was “not a thief.” Bostick then told the shift leader he was not feeling like himself and he wasn’t “in his right mind.”

Bostick was then sent home, where he proceeded to tell his father he felt upset about his grandmother’s death, said he wasn’t sleeping and needed to talk to someone. His father took him to the hospital for treatment, court documents say.

The next day — the day he abruptly left work — Bostick told his shift leader about his medical treatment and proceeded to start working packing boxes.

Bostick “was expected to pack about forty firearms into boxes per hour, but was only packing about twenty per hour,” court documents say. The shift leader then spoke to him about his slow pace, to which Bostick said he wasn’t feeling well.

He then told his shift leader, “I’m out of here. I’m gone.”

Smith & Wesson asked Bostick to submit a short-term disability claim form, which he did not, so the company did so for him.

It was Bostick, Smith & Wesson argued, who was responsible for the breakdown in communication after the company had made several attempts to accommodate him.

Bostick argued as of November 2015 he suffered $50,000 in lost wages and compensation, according to the complaint filed in a lower court.