ASU Employee Says The University Violated Family Leave Law

family leave lawMany of us have to take time away from our jobs at some point in our lives to take care of a sick or dying family member. When that happens, it means we are going through a difficult and often heartbreaking time. The last thing anyone in this situation should have to worry about is losing their job because they have to become a caregiver for a short amount of time.

Today, we are doing to discuss a case in which an ASU employee says that his supervisors and the university improperly fired her for taking time off under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

If you think you have been discriminated against in any way at your workplace, please seek assistance from an Arizona employment attorney today.

What Happened Here?

A lawsuit has been filed by Dana Newell, a former assistant dean at the College of Public Service and Community Solutions at Arizona State University. The lawsuit also names two of her former supervisors, an associate dean and the dean of the college.

Newell says that she experienced retaliation and harassment after she used her legally available time off under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act to care for her father when he fractured his spine.

The lawsuit claims that Newell was an “exemplary employee who received favorable evaluations throughout her 17 years at the university.”

Newell says that she became intermittently sick in 2016 and used sick leave and vacation time while maintaining a standard workload. She says that she sensed her supervisor was becoming angry about her taking time off, and that she experienced harassment when she needed to care for her father.

The lawsuit claims that she began to receive lower marks in her performance reviews and saw her job duties reduced, even after she stopped taking time off under the FMLA.

During the course of these events, Newell’s mother died and her father moved in with her. She continued to have problems with the university and they eventually fired her.

It will still be some time until we see a resolution in this case, but we want to briefly review what the FMLA allows.

By law, the FMLA “entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.” The employer cannot fire them or reduce pay or benefits as a result of an employee taking this time.

Covered under this act are 12 workweeks of leave in a twelve-month period for someone to care for:

  • The birth of a child and care for the newborn within one year of birth.
  • Placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for that child within one year of placement.
  • Care for an employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition.
  • Serious health conditions for the employee themselves.

What Happens Now?

We want you to know that you do not have to put up with discrimination in the workplace. If you think you have faced discrimination or retaliation in your workplace, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible. An Arizona employment law attorney will be able to help ensure that you are treated fairly and compensated for what has happened to you. This can include coverage for:

  • lost income and benefits if you were fired
  • reinstatement to your position if fired or demoted
  • promotion if it is due
  • legal fees and court costs
  • pain and suffering damages
  • punitive damages against your employer

We know that speaking out can be tough, but you deserve to be treated with respect.

Find out about the news regarding a recent workplace discrimination lawsuit.