Former Petersen Health Care Management Employee Alleges FMLA Interference, Retaliation

On Wednesday in the Central District of Illinois, the former employee of a facility filed a complaint against Petersen Health Care Management LLC (Petersen), doing business as Aledo Rehabilitation & Health Care Center (Aledo), alleging interference with and retaliation against her leave of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The plaintiff claimed that she began working for Petersen as Administrator of Aledo Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, around April 2019. She requested leave under the FMLA about June 19, 2020, for a hysterectomy, which “Petersen had verbally approved,” according to the complaint. The plaintiff then had an emergency hysterectomy on approximately June 23, 2020.

The defendant’s office manager gave the plaintiff FMLA paperwork on July 1 and instructed her to return it within 15 days. According to the complaint, the plaintiff faxed the paperwork to the defendant on July 13.

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s employment was terminated on July 8 or 9, because of her absences to deal with her medical condition, as well as, her leave of absence for her surgery and recovery.

According to the complaint, the defendant claimed that the plaintiff had allegedly quit her job at the company on July 8, 2020. The complaint noted, however, purported exchanges between the plaintiff and Sasha Wilson, the interim administrator, confirmed that the plaintiff would be returning to work on July 13.

The plaintiff claimed that she was terminated while she was on protected leave under the FMLA and that the company “[f]ailed to provide documentation to Plaintiff concerning her rights … to provide Plaintiff with a written designation notice … to provide Plaintiff with protected leave when defendant knew of Plaintiff’s medical issues … terminated Plaintiff because of her serious health condition(s)” and “retaliated against Plaintiff’s attempt to exercise her rights to FMLA leave.” 

The plaintiff is seeking recovery of damages through back wages from July 9 through her trial date, compensation equal to her lost benefits, among other compensatory damages, as well as, reinstatement to her position and/or front pay. She also seeks reasonable recovery of legal fees.

The plaintiff is represented by Katz Nowinski P.C.