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  • Writer's pictureDavid Manes

Employee Allegedly Fired For “Sleeping On The Job” When His Medical Conditions Caused Him to Fall As


Employee Files Lawsuit Against UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside For Disability Discrimination

David accepted the job of transplant procurement specialist with UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside in January 2011. He suffers many health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, colon issues, low blood pressure, and insomnia. UPMC was aware of his ongoing needs and his expensive medical bills. In March 2016, David required a foot surgery. His doctor filled out his FMLA paperwork and ordered him to begin his FMLA leave four days before the surgery.

Man in pain holding back

However, David feared that his job would be in danger if he started his FMLA leave as early as his doctor recommended. He felt pressured to work right up to the day of his surgery. During that time, David’s medical conditions caused him to pass out on the couch near the end of his night shift. A coworker woke him up. Soon after, David received a phone call from his supervisor allegedly inquiring about David sleeping during his shift. David shared how he explained to his supervisor that other employees routinely fall asleep during their shifts, and he pointed out that he was being targeted. David believed that his supervisor was already aware of other employees sleeping on the job.

When David arrived for his foot surgery, it had to be postponed because the doctors discovered that he was experiencing renal failure and septic shock. Eventually, David did receive his foot surgery. Midway through his FMLA leave, David sent an email to his supervisor, explaining how his severe medical conditions as well as his anxiety about the foot surgery had forced him to pass out on the couch during his shift.

At the end of his FMLA leave, David prepared to return to work and notified his supervisor of his availability to return. Upon notification, his supervisor terminated David for sleeping on the job. David thinks that the termination occurred because of his medical conditions and his use of FMLA. In fact, due to the pressure from his job, David did not begin his FMLA leave when his doctor recommended, despite his poor health, and then he was fired for a symptom of those conditions.

No employee should suffer employment discrimination due to a disability. The law obligates employers to protect the jobs of employees who require FMLA leave for medical or family reasons. KM&A fights on the behalf of employees like David who experience disability discrimination.

Full text of this complaint, as filed with the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, is available at docket no: 2:17-cv-01252-NBF

Kraemer, Manes & Associates LLC is an employment law firm with principal offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, serving all counties in Pennsylvania, focusing on employment law, business law, litigation, and civil issues. KM&A clients include employees, small businesses, parties in litigation, and people with a variety of legal issues.

For more information about this case, contact Attorney Kayla Drum at 412-626-5594 or at

NOTICE: All information contained in this statement comes from the Complaint which has been filed as a public record with the court. As dedicated civil rights attorneys, we strongly believe in the public value of telling our clients’ stories: violators can be held accountable, and other silent victims can feel empowered to stand up for their legal rights. Although we make every attempt to verify our clients’ claims, note that the defendant is expected to oppose our client’s position, and the court has not ruled one way or the other as of the date of this statement.

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