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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

Eyeglasses Off, Gloves On: 78-Year-Old Ophthalmologist Files Lawsuit Against Augusta County Practice

Written by: Sam Orlando

STAUNTON, VIRGINIA - In a case that could have been scripted for an episode of "Grey's Anatomy"—if only they had an eye for irony—Dr. James Tiedeman, a 78-year-old ophthalmologist, is squaring off against EyeOne P.L.C. in court. Tiedeman claims his former employer has less-than-clear vision when it comes to treating older employees fairly.

Ready for His Close-Up, but Given the Fade-Out

According to Dr. Tiedeman, who was with the Augusta County-based eye care practice from the seemingly Paleolithic era of January 1, 2008, until his abrupt "curtain call" on May 22, 2023, he was never quite allowed back on stage—er, in the office—after taking medically approved leave. And that's not even the kicker; when he did return, it was to find his role had been recast to a younger, presumably fresher-faced, ophthalmologist.

Age Before Beauty?

The lawsuit suggests that EyeOne might need a new prescription for its moral compass. After Tiedeman's refusal to exit stage left into retirement, EyeOne allegedly asked him to undergo "cognitive testing." The test presumably did not include recognizing age discrimination; otherwise, EyeOne might have failed spectacularly.

Arbitration or "Pirate"-ration?

What's more, Dr. Tiedeman insists he tried to handle this discreetly, offering to take the dispute to arbitration, as per the employment agreement he signed way back when your smartphone was probably a flip phone. But EyeOne, seemingly allergic to its own agreement, has declined to arbitrate. This led Dr. Tiedeman to call in the legal cavalry, resulting in a Petition to Compel Arbitration under—you guessed it—the Federal Arbitration Act. Ah, the delicious irony!

The Underlying Plot

But don't let the levity fool you. Tiedeman is hurling a medley of accusations, including disability discrimination, illegal medical inquiries, and even infringement of his Family and Medical Leave Act rights.

Curtain Not Yet Closed

As the footlights dim and the courtroom doors swing open, Dr. Tiedeman seeks to compel EyeOne to face the music—or at least the arbitration table. Given that age and disability discrimination are no laughing matters, the resolution of this case could send a clear message to employers. Perhaps they'll finally see the error of their ways—no eye chart needed.

Editor's Note: This article is based on Court documents, which do not yet include responses from any defendants in the case. The situation may evolve, presumably in less entertaining ways, as the case moves forward.

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