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Nurse sues over firing

Says she was denied leave to aid son

– A southern Indiana woman asserts in a federal lawsuit that the hospital where she worked fired her after she requested medical leave to take care of her son with disabilities.

Katherine Harner of Shoals sued Daviess Community Hospital in Washington on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Evansville.

Harner’s lawsuit alleges the hospital fired her last May after denying her request for 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. The hospital had allowed Harner to take similar leave the previous year after her son was diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome in May 2011, court documents say.

Hospital officials could not be reached for comment. Harner did not return a phone call.

Court documents say the hospital violated federal laws including the FMLA and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The federal FMLA requires employers to grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year so workers can care for seriously ill children.

The lawsuit also alleges that the hospital refused to allow Harner to use the 126 hours of paid time off she’d accrued for 2012. The suit alleges that she was fired in retaliation for attempting to use FMLA leave.

Harner said she had worked at the county-owned, 74-bed hospital since mid-2008. The hospital is self-insured, according to court documents.

Her lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for lost pay, lost health insurance coverage and damage to her professional reputation. It also asks the hospital to hire her back.

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