A man's bad back -- and a federal law -- could turn into a real pain for Caddo Parish. Leslie Nash claims he was fired illegally.
and he's taking action to try to get his job back.
On most days, Nash says he functions just fine. But on other days, his back seizes up.
"It was hard to bend over and even put my boots on. So going to work that day was out of the question," the former dump truck driver for the parish highway department says.
Nash's chiropractor diagnosed him with stage two spinal sublaxation. The doctor's report reads, "patient will need to be able to seek treatment, rest and recuperate during flareups."
Nash then filed for intermittent leave under the Family Medical and Leave Act, and paperwork from the parish human resources office says he was approved. Whenever his back flared up , Nash says he was approved to take a day off to get treatment -- as much as 12 weeks time off, spread out over a year.
As explained by a public policy initiative at Georgetown Law, "The FMLA permits employees to take leave intermittently or on a reduced schedule basis when medically necessary for their own serious health conditions."
So Nash was surprised when he soon got this voicemail from his boss. A man Nash identified as Caddo Parish HIghway Department Gary Stoneman is heard saying, "I can't let you come back to work until we get something from your doctor saying you're 100 percent."
Nash says his back condition will never be fully healed. He says that in another conversation, Stoneman told him the parish feared he would file a workman's compensation claim if he was further injured on the job.
"I just want my job back. I was fired illegally," Nash says. "I want to get up and go to work every day like I was doing before."
Nash also wants back pay, which he says now amounts to $12,500 since he was let go in early July. He says the U.S. Department of Labor's office in New Orleans has taken up his case.
Nash's former supervisor, Stoneman, and the head of human resources at Caddo Parish both declined comment on the personnel matter. Parish Attorney Charles Grubb will only say the parish followed proper procedure.