Temple University Sued After Firing “Situational High Blood Pressure” Sufferer

Temple University was sued for firing an assistant director of housekeeping after she requested multiple weeks off for chronic high blood pressure issues. Situational high blood pressure is brought on by stress, and can cause severe pain.

Delwanna Simpson says she worked in Temple’s housekeeping department for five years before being diagnosed with situational high blood pressure. Shortly after the diagnoses, she had an attack at work and required hospitalization.

At her doctor’s request, she notified the university that she required time off to recuperate from the incident. Rather than the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) paperwork she was expecting, Simpson received notice that she had been terminated.

According to the complaint, Simpson’s doctor faxed a note to Temple, informing them of her required time off. Simpson claims she requested a full “FMLA packet for leave,” but it is unclear if she ever received it.

Given the nature in which she was terminated, namely that it immediately followed an FMLA request, Simpson suspected she was fired due to her illness. Additionally, she claims that the university fired her before responding to her request for leave, which would violate FMLA requirements.

“[Temple] never informed [Simpson] that the medical certification sent by her doctor was in anyway insufficient for the requirements of the Family Medical Leave Act. Receipt of an insufficient certification triggers regulations on an employer which would allow the employee to cure any insufficiency in the certification which the employee had presented to [Temple],” the complaint states.

Simpson is represented by Howard K. Trubman, who filed the suit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She seeks damages and reinstatement as the Court finds practicable.

FMLA Info from US Dept of Labor:

Compliance Assistance: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Links to various sources of information about FMLA.

Fact Sheet on FMLA
Covers the major requirements of FMLA and updates to the FMLA regulations.

FMLA Compliance Guide
Summarizes FMLA provisions and regulations and provides answers to the most frequently asked questions.

elaws FMLA Advisor
The FMLA Advisor provides information about employee eligibility under the law; including valid reasons for leave; employee/employer notification responsibilities; and employee rights and benefits.

The FMLA Poster
All covered employers are required to display and keep displayed a poster prepared by the Department of Labor summarizing the major provisions of the FMLA.

Image Source: Adam Moss (Flickr)