Man sues state corrections department for wrongful termination

Catherine Melancon Oct. 22, 2012, 4:56am

J. Arthur Smith, III

BATON ROUGE – An East Feliciana Parish man filed suit against a state department for alleged wrongful termination.

James Spears filed suit against the Department of Public Safety and Corrections in the 19th Judicial Court on Aug. 16. The plaintiff was hired at the Office of Juvenile Justice at the Jetson Center for Youth as a Juvenile Justice Specialist on Aug. 2, 2000, the suit says.

Spears claims he notified the defendant of his second job at Allied Burton Security as a security officer at the Mall of Louisiana on May 1, 2011, and Spears claims the defendant approved his employment at Allied Burton Security.

Spears claims he took a Family and Medical Leave absence from Oct. 17, 2011 to Nov. 28, 2011. The plaintiff asserts his treating physician Dr. Richard Rathborne completed the Certification of Health Care Provider form and returned it to the defendant.

Spears also claims it was recommended by Dr. Rathborne to continue to work at Allied Burton Security during his leave from Jetson.

The plaintiff's anxiety and depression were allegedly caused from his work environment at Jetson, according to Dr. Rathborne, the suit says. On May 3, the defendant terminated the plaintiff, citing the reasons as inappropriate behavior and failure to provide complete and truthful information about his FMLA leave. The defendant allegedly believed that Spears was able to work at Jetson between Aug. 23, 2011 and Nov. 28, 2011.

The defendant is accused of violating FMLA posting requirements by not posting a notice explaining the FMLA provisions and procedures for filing complaints of violations of the Act and failing to provide the plaintiff with a written notice detailing the specific expectations and obligations of the employee while on leave.

The defendant is also accused of failing to notify Spears of the applicable 12-month period for his FMLA entitlement, his right to substitute paid leave, his entitlement to take unpaid FMLA leave if he did not meet the requirements for paid leave, the consequences of his failure to make premium payments to maintain health benefits, his right to maintenance of benefits during his FMLA leave and his right to be restored to the same or an equivalent position upon his return from FMLA.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for lost wages and fringe benefits, back pay and interest, front-pay, attorney's fees, witness fees and court costs.

Spears isrepresented by J. Arthur Smith, III of Smith Law Firm.

The case has been assigned to Division M Judge Kay Bates

Case no. 614691.

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