Monday, August 1, 2011

Termination Following Maternity Leave Leads to Lawsuit

An alleged miscommunication regarding maternity leave versus resignation led to a wrongful termination civil rights lawsuit in the matter of Gensey v. Michael Taras, D.M.D., L.L.C.  In December 2007, plaintiff Christine Gensey, an office manager in her 30s, told her employer, Allentown dentist Michael Taras, that she was pregnant. On Sept. 12, 2007, Gensey went on maternity leave and gave birth the following day. Taras terminated Gensey on Oct. 3, 2007, while she was still on maternity leave.

Gensey sued Taras for past wage loss damages, claiming that her civil rights were violated when she was terminated due to taking maternity leave.  Her attorney contended that after Gensey gave birth, Taras called Gensey and suggested that she get a babysitter so she could return to work and, when Gensey failed to heed Taras' advice, Taras terminated her. Counsel asserted that all this took place within the span of three weeks.

Counsel for Taras maintained the untenable position that Taras was under the impression that Gensey had quit her job.  Counsel for the defendant also argued that Gensey failed to mitigate her damages.  When all else fails argue that the damages are not as bad as they appear.

Plaintiff's counsel sought $72,457 in past wage loss damages from Oct. 3, 2007, to the time of trial, as Gensey had been earning $32,578 annually and only between $12,314 and $26,295 from the jobs she worked in 2008 and 2009.

The judge in the matter ruled that Taras had violated Gensey's civil rights by terminating her in relation to her maternity leave and awarded Gensey $72,457, plus $4,347 in legal interest. Thus, Gensey's total award from the court was $76,804, plus attorney fees and costs. Share this post :
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