Raleigh Co. man says he shouldn't have been fired for absences

BECKLEY -- A Raleigh County man claims his former employer should never have terminated him for excessive absences.

Timothy Trae Runion filed a lawsuit March 17 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia against Hanover Resources.

Runion claims he began working as a heavy equipment operator for Hanover on Dec. 10, 2007. During his employment with the company, Runion suffered from chronic stomach trouble, a serious medical condition that caused him to miss a significant amount of work, according to the complaint.

In 2008, for example, Runion missed 52 of 149 working days due to his stomach problems, the suit states.

On July 8, Runion's superintendent wrote him up and threatened to terminate him if he missed one more working day within the next 90 days, the complaint says.

Only five days later, on July 13, Runion left work early because of his medical condition. His condition forced him to remain home July 14 and July 15, according to the complaint.

"When the Plaintiff returned to work on July 16, 2009, his superintendent informed him that he had until Friday to present a doctor's excuse," the suit states. "The Plaintiff communicated his inability to attend work, pursuant to his doctor's orders from July 13, 2009, through July 15, 2009. The Plaintiff communicated his inability to attend work by complying with his superintendent's request by returning to work on Friday and presenting a doctor's excuse covering the entire time that he missed work from July 13 through July 15, 2009."

Despite his doctor's excuse, Runion claims his superintendent terminated him for excessive absenteeism.

Runion seeks damages under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, saying Hanover was required to provide him with time off to recover from his condition.

In his complaint, Runion seeks damages for his lost salary and benefits, monetary damages for his future lost salary and benefits, equitable relief in the form of reinstatement of front pay, liquidated damages, an order reinstating Runion to his former position and attorney's fees and costs.

Kyle G. Lusk of Beckley will be representing him.

U.S. District Court case number5:10-347

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