Former Penn State employee Nicole White filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the university, saying Penn State fired her while in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, which grants temporary medical leave under specific circumstances, according to court documents.
The lawsuit was filed Feb. 5 in the U.S Middle District Court, according to court documents.
Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said via email that the university does not comment on potential litigation.
White was hired in Feb. 2007 and worked in the Grange Building as a counselor with Upward Bound, which serves as a college preparatory program. After being hired, White began to experience symptoms, such as nausea, headaches and dizziness and also had a hard time concentrating, according to court documents. Her physician became concerned with her swollen lymph nodes in Dec. 2010 and referred her to see an infectious disease specialist and an allergist, according to court documents.
White met with an infectious disease specialist to discuss a possible allergy to Black Mold, according to court documents. She presented a letter in January 2011 from her doctor to Assistant Vice Provost for Education Marcus Whitehurst that stated she might need to be relocated from the Grange Building, according to court documents.
According to an exhibit attached to the lawsuit papers, Human Resources Manager Joseph Mattivi wrote White a letter dated Feb. 9, 2011 that asserted no mold or other health hazards were detected in the building.
The letter also said that if White failed to report to work on Feb. 14, 2011, her employment at Penn State would be terminated effective immediately, according to the letter attached to the lawsuit papers.
According to court documents, White planned to have her FMLA information form filled out and completed by her doctor on Feb. 15, 2011. And according to court documents, the university was aware of White’s plans to request leave under FMLA, as White had received the completed FMLA form from Penn State on Feb. 14, 2011.
The suit seeks an exact amount of damages that will be determined at trial, back salary and other benefits she would have received prior to her termination, in addition to a statement from Penn State saying its conduct is in violation of her FMLA rights, according to court documents.
A woman who answered the phone of White’s lawyer’s office repeatedly denied contact with White’s lawyer, Lori K. Serratelli.White could not be reached for comment.