Fired HVAC worker sues former employer over termination

By Jon Campisi | Apr 5, 2012

A former HVAC technician is suing the company that employed him for more than a decade, contending that his firing was related to the plaintiff having to take off work due to two separate incidents of knee injuries.

Cherry Hill, N.J. resident Bryan Mazzatenta alleges in his complaint, which was filed in federal court in Philadelphia March 29 by Jenkintown, Pa. attorney Stanley B. Cheiken against Southampton, Pa.-based Christian Heating & Air Conditioning, that his firing in early August 2010, after 12 years of employment, was related to the times he tore the meniscus in both his left and right knee.

The first incident occurred in 2007, when Mazzatenta tore the tendon in his left knee. As a result, he was placed on short-term disability for a seven-week period.

At no time during his disability period was Mazzatenta informed of his rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, the suit claims, but rather was told the FMLA did not apply to it because of its size.

The torn meniscus of Mazzatenta’s right knee took place in May 2010, after which he was informed by his supervisor that he would have to once again go out on disability leave.

Mazzatenta, who started with the company as an installer and in 2007 was promoted to installation manager, was told he wasn’t to return to work “until he is all better,” the lawsuit states.

Mazzatenta was then placed on short-term disability leave on May 19, 2010, after which he had surgery to replace the injured knee.

He was again not informed of his rights under the FMLA, the suit alleges.

In late July 2010, Mazzatenta informed a supervisor that he was nearly recovered from his operation and he expected to return to work shortly thereafter, according to the complaint.

In response, Mazzatenta was told he wouldn’t be able to return to work until officially cleared by his doctor.

Mazzatenta was told to report to the defendant’s offices on Aug. 4, 2010, at which time he was told his position was being eliminated, the suit states.

Mazzatenta requested to be placed in another position, but was told that no openings exist.

Contrary to what he was told, however, Mazzatenta’s job duties were never eliminated, the lawsuit alleges.

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

The lawsuit also claims that upon Mazzatenta’s termination, the company failed to pay out the employer matching and profit sharing portions of Mazzatenta’s 401(k) plan in the amount of $6,500.

For each of the four counts listed in the lawsuit, Mazzatenta seeks unspecified compensatory damages, as well as back pay, front pay and attorney’s fees.

Mazzatenta seeks a trial by jury.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-01566-AB.


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