A former employee of the city of Charleston, West Virginia has filed a personal injury suit against the city, alleging that he was injured when he fell from the back of a garbage truck. He further claims that he was wrongfully terminated after he filed for workers’ compensation and discriminated against because he is black.

According to the suit filed by Howard Garland in West Virginia’s Kanawa Circuit Court on February 27, he was working on the back of a garbage truck for the city’s refuse department when he was flung from the back of the truck and rolled 20 feet over a hill on January 3, 2008.

Garland claims John Bailey, the truck’s driver, was driving in a careless manner and ran over a brick landscaping board, causing the vehicle to “top up” on its side and fling him from the back.

According to Garland, several other employees have filed complaints against Bailey for his allegedly dangerous driving habits, but no action was taken. He says that he has complained to his supervisors before that Bailey would often fail to pay attention or would talk on his cell phone while driving.

Garland says the city’s inaction created an unsafe work environment.

Garland alleges that the fall caused him to suffer permanent injuries to his left shoulder and back and that he has experienced pain and suffering and lost wages.

Garland claims to have been fired while his injuries were keeping him from working and after he filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. He claims departmental policies were applied differently to him because of his race.

Garland seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

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