Fired school services employee sues for wrongful termination

By Jon Campisi | Jan 2, 2012

A Philadelphia woman who claimed she was terminated from her job at a school services business for reasons related to her disability has filed a federal discrimination complaint against the company.

Bensalem, Pa. attorney Ari R. Karpf filed the civil action Dec. 27 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Barbara Holland.

The defendants listed in the complaint are Durham School Services, National Express Corp. and Regina Wilson, all of Downers Grove, Ill.

According to the lawsuit, Holland, who was a Durham School Services employee for five years before her firing in March of this year, suffers from multiple sclerosis, a condition that required her to take intermittent work leave during the course of her employment to undergo medical treatment.

In early or mid 2010, the lawsuit states, Holland missed about three weeks of work to treat an eye problem related to her ailment.

That October, in close proximity to her medical leave, Holland’s job duties were “substantially changed,” the suit states, and she went from working in human resources to working a dispatcher position, the suit claims. The move meant Holland would be given significantly reduced hours.

In January of this year, the complaint states, Holland requested intermittent medical leave in order to continue treatment related to her multiple sclerosis. Defendant Wilson, who is identified as a company manager, informed Holland that she would have to take a block 12-week medical leave effective immediately despite the fact that Holland did not need a full 12 weeks off from work.

“Plaintiff went to her medical provider and received clearance that she did not need a block leave of 12 weeks and explained she would only need intermittent leave if/when her symptoms presented themselves,” the lawsuit states.

“Despite this clearance from Plaintiff’s medical provider and Plaintiff’s request for accommodation (intermittent medical leave when/if needed), Defendants did not allow Plaintiff to remain working at Defendant Entities during the first quarter of 2011.”

The lawsuit claims that Holland was relieved of her duties in March for “untrue reasons.”

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of violating the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

The complaint contains counts of interference and retaliation, actual discrimination, perceived discrimination, retaliation, failure to accommodate and wrongful termination.

Holland seeks to have the defendants prohibited from continuing its policies of discrimination.

She also seeks lost pay, as well as unspecified compensatory, punitive and liquidated damages, as well as court costs and attorney’s fees.

Holland has demanded a trial by jury.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-07864-CDJ.

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