A former department manager at the Thomaston Lowe's has filed a federal age discrimination case against the business after he says they fired him following knee surgery.

Albert M. Lustgarten, 64, of Rockport, filed the case July 22 in U.S. District Court, claiming disability discrimination, retaliation and age discrimination, according to court documents.

Lustgarten was employed at Lowe's for six and a half years. In July 2014, he had surgery on his knee and was expected to be out of work between three weeks and two months.

While out of work another manager informed Lustgarten's friend to warn him of Lowe's intent to terminate him upon his return to work. Lustgarten states, according to court documents, that Lowe's employs a practice of terminating older employees with medical conditions.

Lustgarten returned to work Sept. 15 with work restrictions due to his knee and was fired Sept. 26 for being rude and unfriendly to one of his direct reports.

The plaintiff has compiled all administrative requirements and received a right to sue letter from the Maine Human Rights Commission. MHRC makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who has engaged in a protected activity — in this case, requesting medical accommodation, according to the court documents.

MHRC also makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate based on a medical disability, which Lusgarten claims did occur.

Lusgarten, through his attorney, Guy Loranger, of Old Orchard Beach, is asking the court to enter a judgment in his favor. He is also asking the court to award damages to compensate for damages the plaintiff suffered, including general and non-economic damages, economic damages, prejudgment and post-judgement interest, lost wages, punitive damages, costs of the suit, including attorney fees and costs.

Lowe's has 21 days to respond to the lawsuit.

Courier Publications Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at klincoln@villagesoup.com.