Worker claims reasonable accommodations not made after disability leave

Michelle Massey Sep. 15, 2010, 2:00am


A Jefferson Parish resident has filed a discrimination lawsuit against her employer after she was allegedly terminated for exhausting her leave under the Family Medical Leave Act.

Alleging disability discrimination, Kerstin Shinn filed suit against Ochsner Health System Sept. 1 in federal court in New Orleans.

Shinn states she injured her knee at work in 2007 and needed several surgeries. The first surgery was in July 2007. When she returned to work, Shinn states reasonable accommodations were not provided.

Shinn claims that despite a medical restriction to only work four-hour days, she was required to work in excess of six hours. After a second surgery in November 2007, Shinn was identified as an individual with a disability. Just prior to her termination, Shinn says she was released back to work light duty but told to wait for her custom knee brace. Shinn informed her employer of this status report in February 2008. She says two days later she was terminated for exhausting her leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Shinn accuses her former employer of denying her reasonable accommodations for a disability medical condition and refusing to accommodate Shinn by not allowing her a few days leave to obtain the required brace.

The defendant is accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law.

Shin is seeking damages for loss of income, loss of earning potential, punitive damages, general damages that include pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience and humiliation, reinstatement, front pay, attorney fees, court costs and interest.

Shinn is represented by Dale E. Williams of Covington.

U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv02890

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