A marine veteran living with PTSD has been fighting for months to bring his service dog to work with him.
Now, as the legal battle continues, Shaun Kettner says he has been "terminated" from his employment at L&S Electric.
For Kettner, the Dutch shepherd named 'Sig' has been a lifesaver, helping him focus in daily life when the stress becomes too great.
"You have to look at him as like a wheelchair," says Kettner, as Sig sits quietly next to him.
But the fight to bring the service dog to work has been caught up for weeks in its own legal battle between L&S Electric and the VA.
Representatives for the Appleton-based manufacturing and motor repair company say Kettner had failed to complete proper paperwork for bringing in Sig to work. But Kettner says the VA has so far refused to sign the paperwork in question over concern that some questions asked violated HIPAA laws.
"They're saying they're not getting the proper paperwork, but the paperwork that they're asking [for has] Borderline HIPAA violations," adds Kettner, "and the VA will not fill it out."
Kettner was placed on unpaid suspension in March, but last week Kettner got a message from the company.
"I'm terminated from the company," says Kettner, adding the company is disputing the claim. "They're telling me that I've resigned, but I've made many attempts to [show] that I've wanted to come back to work. But they won't allow me."
Kettner and his wife say they're still looking for that light at the end of this dark tunnel.
"But at the same time I have to make sure that the girls are being taken care of, too," adds wife Becca Kettner, as Shaun and Sig stay active in the yard behind her.
She's hoping their struggle can at least educate others on PTSD, and the importance of service dogs for some veterans.
"I have other friends in the area whose husbands have deployed, and come back with PTSD as well," says Becca. "They struggle too, and it's not just the veteran that struggles. It's the whole family."
Meanwhile, Shaun says he's currently looking for work in the area as the legal fight rages on.
As of today, Kettner says he's received the paperwork to file a formal discrimination charge against L&S Electric through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Our numerous attempts to reach out to L&S Electric's legal counsel by phone and e-mail were not returned.