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Victory comes with a sting

Sometimes you win your case, but not without a few barbs aimed at your client.

Such was the case with a man who hoped to return to work at a Dollar General warehouse in South Boston. He tried to apply, never heard back and sued the retailer saying his rejection was retaliation for an earlier disability discrimination claim.

No so, the company responded. Dollar General officials said they never received an application from the plaintiff.

The employer prevailed on a motion for summary judgment in Wilson v. Dollar General Corp. (VLW 015-3-543), but U.S. District Judge Jackson L. Kiser was hardly sympathetic to the company’s explanations.

“If bad business practices were actionable, Plaintiff would be entitled to every penny he seeks. But they are not,” Kiser wrote in a Nov. 10 opinion.

Kiser thought Lamont Wilson was ill-treated when he tried to apply using the company-mandated online application system. He submitted his information with the help of a state job counselor and promptly received an email from Dollar General saying “We have received your application….”

“That e-mail was false,” Kiser said.

Wilson apparently missed a follow up email saying he still needed to complete a required “assessment” form. Because the process was handled by an outside vendor, no one at Dollar General was ever aware Wilson had applied.

“Wilson was not the victim of unlawful retaliation,” Kiser said. “The evidence before the court, however, establishes that he was the victim of a grievously flawed and unnecessarily confusing application process,” the judge said.

Wilson was represented by Terry N. Grimes of Roanoke. Dollar General was represented by Alexander T. Marshall of Richmond.

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