CHARLESTON – A man is suing Apria Healthcare after he claims it violated the Family Medical Leave Act and terminated his employment.

Cary D. Van Valkenburgh was hired on Aug. 7, 1992, by the defendant and throughout his employment, he was a satisfactory employee and at all times he performed his job duties in a manner that reasonably met the defendant’s reasonable expectations, according to a complaint filed Dec. 12 in Kanawha Circuit Court and removed to federal court on Feb. 6.

Van Valkenburgh claims sometime toward the end of 2014, he began experiencing significant medical issues, including the erosion of the lining in his stomach and esophagus and ultimately required him to undergo surgery to remove his gallbladder.

The plaintiff was also caring for his ailing mother during this period of time and, throughout this period, he would inform the appropriate parties of the need for medical leave and he never exceeded the leave authorized by the Family Medical Leave Act, according to the suit.

Van Valkenburgh claims in August 2015, he was approved for a leave of absence so that he could undergo treatment for his serious medical conditions and the defendant classified the absences as leave under the FMLA and approved the leave through Aug. 24, 2015.

On Sept. 8, 2015, the defendant placed Van Valkenburgh on a corrective action plan based upon unscheduled absences over the previous six months, according to the suit.

Van Valkenburgh claims the unscheduled absences were protected by the FMLA.

On Sept. 25, 2015, the defendant discharged Van Valkenburgh for excessive absenteeism, according to the suit.

Van Valkenburgh claims the defendant violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act and FMLA.

Van Valkenburgh is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by Stephen B. Farmer and Matthew H. Nelson of Farmer, Cline & Campbell.

Apria is represented by Raymond L. Harrell Jr. and Kurt E. Entsminger of Flaherty Sensabaugh Bonasso.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 2:17-cv-01204

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Charleston Division
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