A former team lead employee for a Philadelphia-area Target store has sued the company, claiming that his he was unlawfully fired while he was on job-protected medical leave for his personal mental health. The case is styled Langner v. Target Corp., Reed Group and Marquita Johnson, No. 2:21-cv-00355 (E.D. Penn., Jan. 27, 2021).
In his suit, the employee claims he was out on leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) due to anxiety and stress related to his child’s leukemia diagnosis and treatment. During his leave, he checked into his leave account on Target’s computer system only to discovery that he had been fired. He was later told that he had been fired because an investigation into an incident with a subordinate revealed violated policy by failing to meet or give the subordinate employee a disciplinary warning.
Obviously, the timing of Langer’s termination is suspect, given he was fired with apparently little or no notice while on medical leave. Under circumstances such as this, courts often find there to be a presumption of wrongdoing against the company based on the timing of the employees termination.
Sadly, this type of fact situation is quite common. I have just wrapped up handing a very similar case in which I represented a woman who was terminated immediately following medical leave she took to care for her child who was receiving cancer treatments. It is, frankly, hard to believe that companies routinely act in such a manner toward their loyal employees. But they do.
And when they do, we’re here to help achieve some measure of justice for employees.