Highland Village sued for demoting fire captain

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Jul 21, 2010

SHERMAN-A former captain with the Highland Village Fire Department has filed suit against the city alleging violations of the Family Medical Leave Act after he received a demotion for allowing a subordinate to swap shifts due to a medical problem.

Timothy L. Moehlman filed suit against city of Highland Village, Lonnie Tatum and Jason Collier on March 29 in 393rd District Court of Denton County. The defendants removed the case to federal court on July 16.

According to the court records, Moehlman allowed a subordinate firefighter to swap shifts instead of forcing her to return from her FMLA leave prematurely.

Moehlman states that he did not receive a doctor's note stating the employee was fit for duty and that the firefighter stated she was having complications from a medical procedure.

Moehlman was accused of violating personnel policies by allowing a member to take leave when another member had already been approved and scheduled for leave on the same shift.

However, Moehlman argues that firefighter was not medically fit for duty and she swapped her shift with another firefighter.

Moehlman was demoted from captain to firefighter/paramedic.

The city is accused of violation of the FMLA by discriminating against Moehlman for opposing a practice made unlawful by the Act.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for lost wages, salary, employment benefits, pension benefits and other compensation denied or lost by reason of the County's alleged violation of the FMLA, plus interest, attorney fees and costs.

Moehlman is represented by Sulphur Springs attorney Wade A. Forsman.

Jury trial requested.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:10cv00358

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