Lawsuit accuses Restek of violating Family and Medical Leave Act

Restek Corporation in Bellefonte manufactures products for the chromatography market.
Restek Corporation in Bellefonte manufactures products for the chromatography market.

The former vice president of operations of Restek Corp. claims in a federal lawsuit that the company violated the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Timothy Hines, of East Falmouth, Mass., makes the allegations in a suit filed Friday against the Benner Township company and its president, Bryan Wolcott.

Wolcott could not be reached for comment Monday.

Hines was hired in January 2012 as Restek’s only vice president and, over the next year, he said, his duties were expanded. They included overseeing two small companies, Tech-Glass and Glastron Inc., that Restek owned or was affiliated with.

The suit claims Restek founder Paul Silvis made disparaging comments to him and others about his weight and the way he dressed.

In late spring and early summer 2013, Hines claims, the stress of the workplace caused him to see a doctor about once a week because he suffered from fatigue, chest pain, nausea, dizziness and depression.

In his suit, Hines says he told Wolcott he thought his medical problems were due in part to harassment and a hostile work environment. He claims his complaints were not addressed, he said. In July of last year, he was given permission to work from his home one day a week.

He was admitted to a hospital for diagnostic tests but the symptoms returned when he returned to work and his treating physician suggested a leave of absence, the suit states.

On Aug. 28, Hines began approved leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act.

But he claims that, on Oct. 15, while still on leave, he was asked to attend a meeting. He also received numerous calls from employees requesting assistance or advice related to work, he said.

Wolcott and others began questioning the legitimacy of his leave and what he did with his free time, the suit states. After asking Wolcott and the personnel director to stop calling and emailing him, Hines said, he discovered in November that his company emails had been deleted.

Shortly after that, Hines said, he requested additional leave under the company’s leave of absence policy that had been approved with an expiration date of Feb. 4.

In December, he participated in a 50-minute interview regarding his hostile work complaints with two human resources officials, during which he claims he was told Wolcott and the others who allegedly were harassing him would be required to attend training.

Hines’ doctor would not clear him to return to work on Feb. 4, so he was terminated for allegedly failing to return documents in a timely manner about the need for more leave, the complaint states.

The suit seeks unspecified damages, back pay and reinstatement for various alleged violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act.