A man has filed suit against his employer, alleging he was discharged after attempting to take leave from work due to his diabetes.

Patrick Armstrong filed suit July 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Houston Division against the Texas Heart Institute.

According to the complaint, Armstrong claims the defendant violated the Family and Medical Leave Act when it fired him for taking off time to treat his diabetes.

Armstrong claims he was working as a photographer for the Texas Heart Institute when he attended a health fair at St. Luke’s. At the fair, Armstrong was diagnosed with diabetes and sought treatment from Dr. Pamela Havlen of the University of Texas Medical Branch, according to the complaint.

Armstrong’s boss allegedly expressed concern he was missing too much work by going to doctor appointments, so he began skipping his appointments with Dr. Havlen, the suit states. Concerned about Armstrong’s health,

According to the suit, Dr. Havlen was concerned that Armstrong was missing appointments to avoid absences at work and assured him that his condition was serious enough that he had a right to file for leave with his employer under the FMLA, the complaint says.

In November 2012, Armstrong applied for leave under the FMLA. He claims he was approved for intermittent leave Feb. 22, 2013. When he suffered from a diabetic flare-up April 2, 2013, Armstrong took time off work, according to the complaint.

Meanwhile, on April 15, 2103, Armstrong's boss wrote to him, requesting he stay home until he felt better, the suit states. However, Armstrong was told contradictory information by an FMLA administrator, who told him he was allowed to take up to three days off six times per year, the suit states.

On April 30, 2013, Armstrong told his boss he still was not feeling well. The boss again requested he stay home until he was feeling better.

Armstrong was given a seven-day deadline to submit FMLA related paperwork, but was unable to submit the paperwork by the required time, he claims. In turn, the institute did not approve the days Armstrong took off work, according to the complaint. Because his leave was not approved, Armstrong was fired May 7, 2013, the suit states.

Armstrong contends the deadline imposed on him was illegal. He argues he should have been given 15 days to submit required paperwork, which would have allowed him to keep his job.

Armstrong is seeking actual and liquidated damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs, attorney’s fees and other relief the court deems just.

He is being represented by attorney Edwin Sullivan of Oberti Sullivan in Houston.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Houston Division case number 4:14-cv-02100

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Houston Division. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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