In July of 2014 the United States District Court of the Western District of Kentucky, heard a case regarding an employee who worked for the defendants for almost 19 years. (See Harman v. Western Baptist Hospital, 2014 WL 3513202 (W.D. Ky. 2014)). In this case, the plaintiff’s attorney filed suit and alleged FMLA and ADEA violations.
The plaintiff in 2006 was assigned the position of ER Department Charge Analyst; a promotion. Then in 2009, the defendants came up with a ‘best practices’ or restructuring plan. Id. In 2010, the female plaintiff took FMLA leave and when she returned her job had changed significantly. Then in December of 2011, the Kentucky FMLA and ADEA female plaintiff was advised that her position was being phased out and given 60 days notice to apply for another position, though no assurances were given. Id. Plaintiff did not like this and thought it was because of her taking FMLA and/or because of her age. Plaintiff at the time of her termination was 52 years old. Id.
There are two types of FMLA claims, either an interference claim or a retaliation claim. In that the female Kentucky FMLA and ADEA plaintiff received her full twelve week entitlement, the claim available is a FMLA retaliation claim. Id. The question becomes whether the defendants instituted “the adverse action because of a prohibited reason or for a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason.” (cites omitted).
A FMLA Retaliation case is established when the plaintiff proves 1) she engaged in protected activity, 2) this engagement was known to the defendant, 3) thereafter, the defendant took an employment action adverse to the plaintiff, and 4) there was a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse employment action. Id. In this Kentucky FMLA and ADEA case, the defendants conceded elements one and two, but claimed there was no adverse employment action because her position was eliminated rather than terminated. Id. But, the court did not agree. It also found that element four was proven as well. But, the defendants did have a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for her termination in that it had instituted a best practices plan to dissolve her position. Id. To this, the plaintiff’s Kentucky FMLA and ADEA attorney could not rebut and show was pretextual. Accordingly, this FMLA claim was dismissed. As to the ADEA discrimination claim, the court found that an age of difference of 8 years and 8 months without more was not significant enough to give an inference of discrimination. Id. Thus, this ADEA claim of age discrimination was dismissed as well.
If you have been the subject of a Kentucky FMLA and ADEA Termination Case, please call and speak to a Kentucky FMLA and ADEA Termination lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (888-275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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