There may come a point in a person’s life when they need to take time away from work due to a medical condition or a family member falling ill. Thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act, it is possible for people to take this time away from work, and once they have healed, return to their duties without consequence. The process should be that simple, but sometimes employees experience discrimination or employer retaliation as a result of them taking this much needed time away.
In Pittsburgh, a woman has filed a lawsuit against her former employer for discrimination and violating the FMLA. When the woman allegedly took time away from work to heal from a wrist injury, upon her return to work she was denied a promotion by her supervisor who assumed she was disabled. The former employee also noticed that her employer had began to retaliate against her, singling her out and reprimanding her for certain behaviors that her coworkers were engaging in as well.
There was further discrimination and hostile behavior experienced when the woman began having issues with her stomach. Following her surgery to have her gallbladder removed, she returned to her place of employment a week later to find that she had been terminated. As a result, she is now seeking compensation for punitive damages, lost wages and benefits.
It is not right for employers to treat employees unfairly due to taking time off work to heal from a medical condition. Even though employers are likely aware of how the Family and Medical Leave Act works, they may still choose to ignore it and retaliate against their employees. Anyone who feels as though their employer has violated the FMLA should contact an attorney. Employees have rights, and it is never OK for an employer to act as if they do not. If they do, there should be consequences for their behavior and the employee should be awarded compensation for their troubles.
Source: Penn Record, “Former employee sues Quest Diagnostics, alleging disability discrimination,” Kasey Schefflin-Emrich, Aug. 19, 2015