Nurse Uses FMLA Leave, Allegedly Returns to a Demotion and Further Harassment.


Employee Files Lawsuit against UPMC Passavant for FMLA Violations

Tonya accepted the position of charge nurse at UPMC Passavant in September 2014. For two years, she worked well in her position and received positive feedback from her supervisor. In November 2016, Tonya applied for short term disability leave for 8 weeks due to her irritable bowel syndrome and received approval. In January 2017, Tonya completed her leave and returned to work.

A newly hired GI unit director verbally warned Tonya about some attendance issues and removed Tonya from her administrative responsibilities, which meant reduced pay as well. Tonya recognized this as a demotion and made a complaint to the director. According to Tonya, the director assigned Tonya and another nurse to share the responsibilities but this still meant that Tonya had a reduced pay. Tonya also knew that the other nurse assigned to the duties was less qualified and without a bachelor’s degree.

Curious about the attendance issues that started all of this, Tonya reviewed her unexcused absences and discovered that a few were dates that were during her FMLA leave while the others had been approved. In fact, an incorrect code had been inputted for some of her absences. Tonya approached her director with this new information, but her director allegedly told Tonya that she was “just a staff nurse” and “the same as all the others.”Tonya approached her director with this new information, but her director allegedly told Tonya that she was “just a staff nurse” and “the same as all the others.”

Tonya recalled that her director called her for a meeting with the chief nurse officer. They were adamant that they had a right to change Tonya’s role. Meanwhile, Tonya requested a human resource representative to join their meeting, but her request was ignored. After this meeting, Tonya informed the Human Resources department that she wouldn’t return until she could be guaranteed a harassment-free workplace. Tonya never received a response from Human Resources, but her pay was stopped.

Tonya suspects that the discrimination she experienced started because of her use of FMLA leave. Now a client of KM&A, Tonya fights for her employee rights. KM&A challenges employers who violate FMLA and discriminate against employees with disabilities.


Full text of this complaint, as filed with the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, is available at docket no: 2:18-cv-00106-CB

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.

For more information about this case, contact Attorney Sean Ruppert at 412-626-5550 or at

NOTICE: All information contained in this statement comes from the Complaint which has been filed as a public record with the court. As dedicated civil rights attorneys, we strongly believe in the public value of telling our clients’ stories: violators can be held accountable, and other silent victims can feel empowered to stand up for their legal rights. Although we make every attempt to verify our clients’ claims, note that the defendant is expected to oppose our client’s position, and the court has not ruled one way or the other as of the date of this statement.