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Nurse Wrongfully Fired for FMLA Leave

A Kaiser Permanente nurse in California is alleging retaliation after she took approved leave to care for a sick relative. The woman had reportedly taken leave under the Family Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act to care for her mother, who had been the recipient of a total hip replacement. The nurse was fired shortly before returning to work at the medical facility, according to her complaint.

While the woman was on leave, her supervisor allegedly left harassing messages on the woman's phone. She criticized the nurse for taking excessive time away from work, and she also demanded that the woman come back to her job. The nurse was also allegedly harassed when she returned to work, as her supervisor placed her on mandatory suspension for behavior that showed a "conflict of interest." The woman was ultimately fired after several months of this behavior, losing her job in early December 2012.

The woman's complaint shows that the retaliatory behavior stemmed from her decision to legally leave work to care for her mother. The nurse says she is part of a protected class of workers because of her mother's illness, and she should be shielded through FMLA and CFRA provisions. Even though she told her employers about her mother's medical conditions, she was still fired, ostensibly in violation of federal law.

The woman is seeking financial compensation for retaliation, along with discrimination, harassment and hostile work environment. These problems violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The woman is seeking compensatory damages, along with special, economic and punitive damages. It is not clear how much she is seeking in connection with the case.

People who have suffered employment wrongs may be entitled to financial compensation because they are unable to work. Redress for such employment violations can be used to provide for lost income, slander and libel toward individual reputation and other civil employment claims.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Took care of mom, fired from Kaiser, nurse says," Philip A. Janquart, April 2, 2013

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