Earnest Hoye, who had worked for Upshur County for 10 years, said that his firing for being absent from work violated the U.S. Family and Medical Leave Act.
The case is set for mediation in Longview on Thursday, Aug. 22. County Judge Dean Fowler said he will attend the mediation hearing, and that the county will be represented by attorneys from Garland.
In his lawsuit, filed in January in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Marshall, he states that his wife was diagnosed with cancer in February, 2011, causing him to take six weeks off, noncontinously, to care for her.
He also contends that he suffered a health condition in June, 2011, related to working on county roads following a storm. He said that he had medical documentation for the leave from work, but it was not disclosed in the lawsuit.
His suit also states that he had not missed more than 12 weeks of work in 12 months because of either his or his wife’s health before he was fired.
The suit states that under the Medical Leave act, he was entitled to time off to care for his wife.
This is the second time Hoye has sued the county in federal court.
He filed a suit in U.S. District Court in Tyler in 2009 claiming he hadn’t been promoted in the Road and Bridge Department because he is black.
However, the county contended that attendance problems were the reason, and producted time cards showin that he routinely worked only two or three days a week.
A jury in the federal court ruled in November, 2009, that he had not been discriminated against.