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Sacramento Employment Law Blog


Lawsuit: California woman harassed, fired for taking FMLA leave

Many people have had to deal with health issues or concerns that can affect their ability to work for a period of time. This may include having a baby, caring for a sick loved one or helping a family member recover from a surgical procedure. In California, state and federal laws are in place to protect a person’s right to take time off work to care for themselves or a family member without having to risk losing their job.

Under the terms of the Family Medical Leave Act, eligible employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks away from work to recover from an illness, care for a loved one with a serious health condition or bond with a new child. If there is an unfair denial of medical leave or if an employee faces unlawful termination for taking medical leave, there may be grounds to file a lawsuit.

One Sacramento, California, woman recently filed this very type of lawsuit after she says she was the victim of harassment during an approved medical leave and then wrongfully terminated out of retaliation.

According to reports, the woman had taken time off work to care for her mother who had undergone a significant hip replacement surgery. Under the terms of the FMLA and the California Family Rights Act, the woman should have been allowed to take time away from work without having to worry about the demands of her job or job security.

Instead of being able to focus on helping her mother recover, the woman says that she had to deal with a stream of calls from her supervisor who harassed her, criticized her for being away from work and made demands that she return to her job before the leave was over. When the woman did return to work, it took less than two months for her employers to fire her. The woman claims that her termination was an act of retaliation for the leave she had previously taken to care for her mother.

In her lawsuit, the woman is seeking economic and non-economic damages that resulted from the FMLA violations, retaliatory termination and harassment to which the woman was subjected.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Took Care of Mom, Fired From Kaiser, Nurse Says,” Philip A. Janquart, April 2, 2013