Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hemophiliac Tech Sues Over Medical Leave Firing

Story via OutpatientSurgery
A surgical tech's wrongful termination lawsuit accuses his former employer of firing him due to his hemophilia. The surgery center, however, counters that the firing was the result of the tech's dishonest use of medical time off.

Robert Dietrich was an OR tech, anesthesia tech and orderly for the Susquehanna Valley Surgery Center in Harrisburg, Pa., for 6 years when, in June 2009, a bleeding episode was serious enough to require medication and time off from work.

According to the lawsuit, he notified the center of his condition and his need to take leave. Mr. Dietrich's supervisors said they were familiar with the condition and the treatment requirements for patients with active bleeds, including refraining from physical exertion.

Mr. Dietrich, however, was terminated about a week later on account of his absence. He filed suit, claiming violations of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and Family Medical Leave Act and Pennsylvania's Human Relations Act, and seeking damages for lost income. He notes that he'd previously perceived discrimination at the center due to his hemophilia.

The center disputes these charges, arguing in its response to the lawsuit that Mr. Dietrich failed to adhere to the its call-out policy and misrepresented his reasons for absence. On one of the days, it points out, Mr. Dietrich, who owns and operates a landscaping business on the side, drove an employee to a job site. (Mr. Dietrich explains that he didn't exert himself or perform any manual labor on that day.)

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