A complaint was filed against Centene Corporation by a former employee in the Western District of Texas – Austin Division on Thursday, alleging a retaliatory termination that violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
The FMLA (29 U.S.C. ch. 28 §2601 et seq.) “entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave,” as noted by the Department of Labor. It allows twelve workweeks of leave in a one-year period for newborn care, serious health conditions, and for a few other scenarios.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff took “job-protected intermittent leave” under the FMLA in February 2019. She worked as an executive assistant under the Corporate Vice President of Business Operations, who expressed a “negative attitude” towards her leave in March 2019. In a message that was written in the complaint, the plaintiff’s boss referenced that the plaintiff had fallen at work and filed a worker’s compensation form. In April 2019, a new FMLA intermittent leave was approved for the plaintiff, but when she had morning doctor’s appointments, she was told to “come in after lunch and was forced to take a half-day of leave” instead of a full day of leave.
Shortly after in July 2019, the plaintiff was terminated for “unauthorized purchases on the company credit card,” but she claims that “the purchases were approved by” her boss. Therefore, the plaintiff is suing Centene for violating the proscriptive clause of the FMLA which “bars employers from penalizing employees and other individuals for exercising their rights.”
The plaintiff is seeking actual damages for lost back pay, lost benefits, reinstatement or front-pay, liquidated, compensatory and punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.
The plaintiff is represented by Ahad Khan.