Jail Warden Allegedly Explains Employee’s Termination Due To “Trying to get Away from People who use FMLA.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Employee Files a Lawsuit against Allegheny County Jail for Disability Discrimination
Jamie received his position of correctional officer at Allegheny County Jail in 2014. Meanwhile, he suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, Pancreatitis, and a chronic shoulder injury. In the early spring of 2015, a Pancreatitis flare up caused Jamie to seek FMLA leave from May to September.
In December, Jamie’s shoulder pain sent him to the emergency room. The doctor informed Jamie that he should be on a light duty restriction until he met with an orthopedic surgeon in January 2016. The surgeon scheduled Jamie for a surgery to repair his torn rotator cuff and bicep tendon. A few weeks after the surgery, Jamie’s rotator cuff tore again and required another surgery. The doctor released Jamie with light duty restrictions, but the Allegheny County Jail informed him that no light duty work was available. Instead, they offered him a leave of absence until he could return to work in full capacity.
Two months later, Jamie received a letter from his employer stating his leave had been extended another month. No instructions were included for next steps to return to work. Jamie contacted Human Resources to tell them about an upcoming doctor’s appointment, which would determine his ability to work. After this appointment, Jamie’s doctor released him for light duty work for one more month before he could return to regular duties.
When Jamie informed Human Resources of the doctor’s decision, he shared that he requested reasonable accommodation of light duty work until he could fully return. His employer refused his accommodation while allowing another employee with a similar shoulder injury to have reasonable accommodations.
Jamie recalls that the warden blatantly said, “we do not wish to hire [Jamie] back because we at the new Allegheny County Prison are trying to get away from people who use FMLA.”Allegheny County Jail terminated Jamie. In a meeting after the termination, Jamie recalled that the warden blatantly said, “we do not wish to hire [Jamie] back because we at the new Allegheny County Prison are trying to get away from people who use FMLA.” Clearly, Jamie was fired because he used his legal right of FMLA leave. After filing a complaint with the EEOC, Jamie received his Right to Sue letter. Jamie, now a client of KM&A, is fighting for his employee rights.
Full text of this complaint, as filed with the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, is available at docket no: 2:17-cv-01398-DSC
Kraemer, Manes & Associates LLC is an employment law firm with principal offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, serving all counties in Pennsylvania, focusing on employment law, business law, litigation, and civil issues. KM&A clients include employees, small businesses, parties in litigation, and people with a variety of legal issues.