Employee Fired after Asking to Use FMLA Leave for Father’s Health Emergency, and Boss Allegedly Replies, “If You Have To.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Employee Files Lawsuit against First Commonwealth Federal Union for FMLA Interference
Monica started with First Commonwealth Federal Union in February 2016. As a mortgage loan closer, her priorities were to finalize documents with correct signatures and coordinate the loan closing. Monica also was the primary caregiver for both her parents as they each suffered from chronic conditions that only continued to worsen, requiring more time and energy from her.
In February 2017, Monica sought approval for FMLA leave by providing her employer with certification from a doctor that showed that Monica was the primary caregiver, that the conditions were ongoing and chronic with episodic flare-up, and that Monica would require 4-8 hours for 2-3 times a week. Monica received approval. But she tried to use her lunch break so as to lessen the impact on her office.
Her supervisors began to request more verification of Monica’s use of her FMLA leave. They called her into a meeting, allegedly saying, “We are your supervisors, we have a right to know.” Concerned about privacy, Monica pointed out that she’d already provided the necessary certification. When HR asked for a more detailed certification, Monica complied.
In September, Monica received an email from a supervisor that requested details about her use of FMLA leave. Monica replied, acknowledging her rights under FMLA and expressing that she was beginning to feel attacked. Meanwhile, her boss informed her that one of the loans she was closing had a significant time pressure. When she checked over the paperwork, Monica told her boss that a signature was missing. Allegedly, her boss replied, “[Another employee] is good at making these look like an original.”
As the last person to review loan closings, Monica understood her boss’s statement to mean that a forgery was going to occur. Monica called a meeting with higher management to discuss her concern about possible forgery. They promised to investigate. A week or so later, Monica received another email that requested appointment cards for her FMLA leave use for 18 dates. Monica thought it was excessive to try to track down appointment cards for all 18 dates, but she promised to supply the cards for all future appointments.
At the beginning of October, Monica’s mother called her at work, frantic about her husband’s health. She went to her boss to request to leave 45 minutes early from work to take care of the emergency health situation, and her boss allegedly responded, “If you have to.” Once at home, Monica stabilized her father’s health in 25-30 minutes. She then attended her son’s football game.
The next day, Monica was called into a meeting, where she was accused of using her FMLA leave to spectate her son’s football game. She explained what had happened, but her employer insisted that she’d been seen at the football game and clearly had not cared for her father. Monica was fired.
Monica believes that First Commonwealth Federal Union terminated her due to her use of FMLA leave and reporting the possible forgery. As a client of KM&A, she seeks her employment rights. KM&A challenges employers who terminate employees for use of FMLA leave and good faith reports.
Full text of this complaint, as filed with the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, is available at docket no: 5:18-cv-01684-EGS
Kraemer, Manes & Associates LLC is an employment law firm with principal offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, serving all counties in Pennsylvania, focusing on employment law, business law, litigation, and civil issues. KM&A clients include employees, small businesses, parties in litigation, and people with a variety of legal issues.