City Sanitation Worker Faces Firing After 40 Years On Job

(Memphis) WREG-TV is looking into the city of Memphis’ sick leave policy, which is under the microscope after a long-time employee, who was often awarded perfect attendance, is forced to go back to work even though he says he’s too sick.

Willie Moore worked in the city’s sanitation department for 40 years; now, he says he feels like the city is treating him like the garbage he’s picked up for decades.

“All the people came around and congratulated us and everything. We’re so happy for you,” said Willie Moore.

When Moore reached 40 years on the job with the city of Memphis, he got pats on the back and all kinds of applause. He was even given a key to the city at one time.

Now that he’s sick, he says the treatment has changed.

Moore said, “He want to tell me, I’m used up, I’m worthless. Either I come back to work, which I cannot do, or my job is terminated.”

The city’s extended leave policy says city hall can evaluate an employee’s status at any time during an extended illness.

Moore’s boss, Public Works Director Dwan Gilliom, sent him a letter demanding he come back to work August 5th, even though he banked more than 600 days of sick time – enough for two years.

“That’s the reason I accumulated those sick leave days, so when I got older and got sick I could use them,” said Moore.

Moore hasn’t even used half the sick time he built up.

The On Your Side Investigators also found a city policy that allows Moore additional leave. That policy says employees can take up to 12 months for extended leave.

The city refused to explain why Moore must go back to driving a 20-ton garbage truck now or risk losing the job he says he’s too sick to do.

“I have had two heart operations, practically three because they had to shock my heart back into place. I have muscle spasms all in my arms. I can barely see out of one eye,” said Moore.

If Moore is allowed to use his sick time, it would almost be enough to get him through retirement age.

He plans to show up Monday on a cane, even though he showed us a doctor’s evaluation that says he should be off indefinitely.