AccuWeather has been accused of terminating an employee who needed time off to treat his medical condition.
David Brunner, of Julian, makes the accusation in a suit filed Friday in U.S. Middle District Court in which he seeks lost and future lost wages and unspecified punitive damages.
AccuWeather founder, president and chairman Dr. Joel N. Myers said the company denies all of the allegations in the lawsuit..
“Such cases are filed regularly against people and entities,” Myers told the CDT on Tuesday. “These are unproven assertions by one person. The courts will decide based on the facts.”
Brunner, who began work with AccuWeather as manager of talent on Aug. 8, 2015, says he had prostate cancer in 2010 and mantle cell lymphoma in 2013.
After being discharged from Mount Nittany Medical Center on Nov. 23, 2015, for spinal stenosis, he was told not to return to work for two weeks until he received an epidural injection, the complaint states.
Brunner alleges when he gave his doctor’s excuse to his supervisor Tom Loebig, he was told, “Put that away. You can’t take any more time off. You already took too much and you just got here.”
He took the note to human resources, but since he never heard anything, he continued to work against his doctor’s advice and without getting the injection, the court document states.
He claims Loebig commented “all you do is take off” when he informed him about a cancer scan scheduled for Feb. 2. The suit also alleges Brunner was berated in front of co-workers by chief meteorologist Bernie Rayno.
Feb. 8, three days after time off for scans and bloodwork, Brunner said he was terminated with the reason being he was “not a good fit.”
He later suffered a mental breakdown from the stress he had dealt with while working for AccuWeather and is currently being treated for clinical depression, the complaint states.
Brunner alleges he was a victim of disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.