Optum Services Accused of Violating the Family and Medical Leave Act

Optum Services, Inc. is facing a discrimination lawsuit from a former employee after allegedly violating the Family and Medical Leave Act. Plaintiff Tasahia Bey alleged that the company wrongly terminated her employment when she was scheduled to undergo a medical procedure. The case, filed on July 17, is being held in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania before Judge Nitza I Quinones Alejandro.

Bey worked at Optum between January 2008 and April 2019 as an Authorization Clerk with a salary of $18 an hour at the time of her involuntary termination. In January 2019 she allegedly developed a medical condition “that persisted and affected her ability to perform everyday activities…” She underwent a procedure in early April 2019, but she required a follow-up procedure. Two days before her scheduled second procedure, Bey was terminated from Optum, who accused her of time theft.

In January 2019, Bey was permitted by Manager Craig Verani to telecommute. According to the complaint, “Telecommuting presents no hardship on Defendants, and is permitted generally for Authorization Clerks, even those without disabilities.” Bey’s condition, there were allegedly “no efforts taken by [Optum] to formally recognize [her] as requiring an accommodation.” She then applied for the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), which required some time off for doctor visits. Her application to the FMLA was denied for failure to submit medical records, and Verani “separated from employment for Defendants around March of 2019.”

Since Optum did not officially give Bey a special medical accommodation, she was required to return to work in March 2019. Although she was approved for an “intermittent FMLA from April 12, 2019, through September 24, 2019” by a third-party administrator, Bey was terminated from her position on April 22, two days before her scheduled medical procedure.

According to the complaint, Bey was fired “as a retaliation for [her] protected activities, including having been approved for FMLA, having requested or been eligible for an accommodation, and/or for having been reasonably accommodated.” Bey also alleges that Optum “disparately treated [her] in relation to similarly situated non-disabled individuals.”

As a result of Optum’s alleged discrimination, Bey seeks an award of compensatory damages and equitable relief. She is represented by Derek Smith Law Group.

Optum is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, Inc., which is “purportedly the largest managed  care company, by revenue and membership.” It is also named as a defendant in this case.