ORLANDO — A man has filed suit against a major home improvement store chain for alleged violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) after he was 20 minutes late for a meeting following excused absences covered by the FMLA.

Juan Mendoza filed a complaint Oct. 11 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, against Home Depot USA Inc., alleging that the corporation violated the rights of employees to the family and medical leave act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that he was employed by the defendant from Nov. 16, 2002, until his termination on Oct.14, 2014. He was at all times eligible for the FMLA leave due to his wife's serious health conditions and while he was given approval for intermittent leave, he was still allegedly was required to at least provide 30 days advance notice. According to court documents, in all instances of his exercising rights to FMLA leave, he provided the defendant with doctor's notes evidencing the reason for his intermittent leave.

However, the defendant purportedly has an attendance policy that allows for termination after eight attendance-related incidents and when he was late for a meeting and considered absent, he was terminated.

The plaintiff holds Home Depot USA Inc. responsible because the defendant allegedly refused to review the documentation provided by the plaintiff, refused to listen or consider the plaintiff's assertions and retaliated against the plaintiff by terminating him for taking necessary leave even if it was covered under the plaintiff's approved leave.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment against the defendant, back pay, front pay in lieu of reinstatement, damages, interest, attorneys' fees, costs and such other relief that the court deems just. He is represented by Mary E. Lytle, David V. Barszcz and Robert N. Sutton of Lytle & Barszcz in Maitland.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, Case number 6:16-cv-01754

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