State trooper alleges harassment for taking medical leave

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Mar 3, 2010

MARSHALL - A former Texas state trooper alleges he was terminated for taking his qualified medical leave after he had two heart attacks and underwent double-bypass surgery.

Alleging violations of the Family Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Edwin K. Lang filed suit against Texas Department of Public Safety and Steven C. McCraw, as administrative head of the Texas Department of Public Safety. The suit was filed March 1 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

Lang states that he had a heart attack in April 2008 and was hospitalized. When he returned to work after treatment, Lang was to attend daily therapy session and work only light duty. Light duty would mean that Lang could not respond to calls on the road but would have to do administrative work.

The plaintiff alleges that during his light duty, he was harassed on a daily basis. He alleges that his sergeant would call him "useless" and "no good" and say he didn't know what Lang's purpose was.
Two months after the heart attacks and against doctor's orders, Lang returned back to work full-time. However, he was still removed from task forces, teams and assignments, whic he says caused loss of duties and overtime.
Lang applied for a promotion but was denied and told of concerns relating to his performance. By the end of 2008, Lang filed a formal charge of disability discrimination within the department and a month later, he filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

During an investigation into different misconduct that occurred two years earlier, Lang was suspended pending an outcome. By December 2009, Lang was terminated. He states the investigation determined that he did not violate any policy.

Lang believes the TDPS failed to accommodate his disability, refused to promote him, retaliated when he exercised his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, interfered with FMLA leave, retaliated against Lang because of the FMLA leave and terminated due to his disability.

Lang is seeking back pay, including lost wages and benefits, front pay from trial to date of his expected retirement, compensatory damages for humiliation, anguish, and suffering, liquated damages for violations of FMLA and punitive damages.

Dallas attorney Robert J. Wiley is representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward is assigned to the litigation.

Case No 2:10cv00068

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