Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Sued for Wrongful Termination After COVID Leave

The Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is under suit from former employee and plaintiff Tauhedah Cryor over claims that the hospital violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The suit was filed Wednesday in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and alleges that the hospital retaliated against the plaintiff through termination when she tried to exercise her FMLA-permitted rights.

Cryor was hired by the hospital in the position titled Patient Access IV in late 2018. In early 2020, she was transferred to another department but worked the same position. The plaintiff asserted that she consistently received “positive performance reviews, occasional praise, and no significant discipline.” In October 2020, Cryor began to experience some symptoms of COVID-19. Due to these symptoms, she worked from home and took sick leave when the symptoms became too severe for her to work.

Upon testing positive for COVID-19, the plaintiff was informed that she did not have to work, but that “her job would not be secure or held as a result.” The hospital never informed Cryor of her right to FMLA leave, and rather “told Plaintiff she would be required to use her paid vacation and sick days to take unpaid time off and, if she did take time off, her position would not be guaranteed.”

The plaintiff began using her vacation and sick days for recovery and to complete FMLA paperwork, eventually informing her employer on November 11, 2020 that she would be unable to come into work since she was still experiencing symptoms. They terminated her employment later that day via phone, stating that Cryor “called out sick on a day that was not approved.” Cryor argues that since she was never notified about her right to protected medical leave by the defendant, that the defendant willfully violated the FMLA. She states that in retaliation for her attempt to exercise her rights, the defendant terminated her.

Cryor maintains that she has suffered a variety of damages, including loss of employment, earnings and earnings potential, economic damages, mental anguish, emotional pain, suffering, and distress, and more. The complaint cites both interference and retaliation under the FMLA, and is seeking back wages, front pay, and bonuses, liquidated damages, litigation fees, and any other relief deemed necessary.

The plaintiff is represented by Murphy Law Group.