A White Flint restaurant that fired a sandwich maker because he had contracted tuberculosis has been ordered by the Montgomery County Human Relations Commission to pay the employe $22,610.
In the commission's largest award in a case involving a public hearing, its employment panel found that the management of The Eatery fired William Gross, 63, of Silver Spring despite letters from his doctor and the county's tuberculosis control agency indicating that Gross was free from any communicable form of tuberculosis, an infectious disease of the lungs.
The commission also makes awards before the hearing stage that are not made public.
Lawyers for the deli and catering service asked the commission yesterday to reconsider its finding that Gross was due back pay and "embarrassment and humiliations damages."
The award followed a public hearing on Gross' complaint that his firing was discriminatory. Gross, who was hired in May 1977, entered a hospital for treatment of tuberculosis in February 1979 and was declared free of active tuberculosis a month later, according to commission records.
The sandwich maker was fired on April 18, 1979, as a precaution for other employes and the public, according to Michael Dean, head of the commission's investigation division.
"The Eatery decided without adequate medical justification to terminate Mr. Gross because of his having had tuberculosis," the commission panel wrote in applying the handicap section of the county's discrimination laws.
Lawyers for The Eatery were unavailable for comment, as was Lawrence E. Lerner of the Lerner Corp. of Kensington, identified as a managing partner of The Eatery Corp.
Gross, 63, who declined comment, is retired.
The employment panel has until July 15 to decide whether to reconsider its decision. If the panel rejects the appeal, lawyers for The Eatery can then appeal the decision to the Montgomery County Circuit Court