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Litigation: Man awarded $1.2 million for wrongful termination

People in California often have a path in life. For many, this includes going to work and doing the best they can while employed. Fortunately, should something unexpected occur -- such as an illness or injury -- they should be able to trust that their employers will make reasonable accommodations for them, including allowing them to take medical leave. If such accommodations are not allowed, workers have the option of seeking recourse through litigation under certain circumstances.

One man in another state chose to do so. He was reportedly employed as a data resources manager from 2004 to 2015. Unfortunately, in 2013 he experienced tumors in the nerves of his feet, leaving him in severe pain. After therapy failed, he underwent surgery. He notified his employer that he would need medical leave from work while he underwent and recovered from surgery; he claims that he notified his employer at the time that he would be spending part of his leave in Mexico as his family had already planned a trip.

When he returned to work at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, he was reportedly told that the trip to Mexico violated the rules of the "salary continuation program." Although the man denied a violation occurred and explained that he had notified his employer of the trip in advance, he was terminated. In Dec. 2015, he filed a complaint, claiming that he was wrongfully fired; a jury recently agreed, awarding him $1.2 million.  

While there are laws in place to protect workers who need medical leave under certain circumstances, workers in California and across the country often fall victim to unlawful treatment. Often, the best way to rectify such a wrong is through litigation. By taking such action, these victims are often able to prevent others from being treated in a similar fashion.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Jury awards former MWRA worker $1.2 million for wrongful termination," Danny McDonald, Jan. 19, 2018

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