January 15, 2013

City of Lawrence fires man after he requests unpaid time to care for his wife in her last days

Sacked municipal laborer to sue city after officials KO request for UNPAID time off to comfort terminally-ill spouse during her last days

A Massachusetts municipal worker says he is going to sue his former employer because the city fired him after he requested time off to comfort his terminally-ill wife during her final days.

Thomas Sapeniza of Lawrence, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb, was reportedly initially granted unpaid leave to care for his spouse of eight years, Heather, who was stricken with brain cancer.

However, by the time of Heather's death on Jan. 3 at the age of 40, Sapienza had already been sacked from his post with the city's Department of Public Works, for whom he toiled as a laborer.

'Heather couldn't even have the peace during the last 30 days of her life knowing that her husband could have a job to go back to,' Michael Sweeney, an ex-elected official in Lawrence told WHDH.com.

Making matters worese, Lawrence officials apparently filled Sapienza's one-time position through political patronage.

Now responsible for widower's former duties is a one-time Massachusetts state official who reportedly not only has no experience as a laborer, but is currently incarcerated.
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But Sapienza, now mired in debt, is fighting back by reportedly preparing a soon-to-be-filed reverse racial discrimination lawsuit with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

'We firmly believe that if Tom Sapienza was Hispanic and not white that he will have a job to come back to with the city of Lawrence,' Shimer-Brenes reportedly said.

The Massachusetts station phoned the DPW, as well as City of Lawrence officials, but received no return calls.

Sapienza reportedly used up his vacation and sick time in caring for Heather and then requested unpaid sick time to be with his wife during her final days.

The one-time municipal laborer reportedly did not qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act because he had not worked the requisite number of hours.



Only in Massachusetts.  Lawrence is not a suburb but a decaying, corrupt, crime-ridden city north of Boston.

Posted by Jill Fallon at January 15, 2013 3:27 AM | Permalink