Pennsylvania Record

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Suit: Former medical lab worker denied severance after shift change forced termination

By Jim Boyle | Jan 13, 2015

PHILADELPHIA - A medical laboratory denied a veteran employee's severance package after

a mandatory change in shift hours forced her to resign because family commitments prevented her from making it into the office on time, according to a federal lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Sheri Greco, of Warminster, seeks judgment against Quest Diagnostics on two alleged violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and demands payment plus interest of the severance benefits she claims are owed to her.

According to the complaint, Greco began working for Quest Diagnostics in 1989, holding her position as medical technologist until her termination in June 2013. The claim says that Greco received positive feedback on all of her performance reviews, but her job became jeopardized by the announcement of policy changes in April 2013.

Greco says she received a memo a few weeks after the announcement that said she would need to start coming into work between the hours of 6 and 7 a.m. or her employer would determine her termination as a voluntary resignation. The claim says that her supervisors are well-aware that Greco was unable to alter her schedule because of the early morning medical needs of her disabled daughter.

The complaint says that Greco made it clear to management that she had no intention of resigning, yet she received notice on May 31, 2013, that her employment would end two weeks later and that she voluntarily resigned.

According to the claim, Quest Diagnostic's severance plan provides the continuation of salary and benefits for a total period of two weeks for every year of employment, up to 52 weeks. Employees are eligible for the package if they are involuntarily terminated as a result of layoffs, facility closing, reorganization or the employee's position has been changed and is no longer comparable to the current position.

Greco claims that she attempted to find a comparable position within the company that would allow her to keep her original hours, but was unable to find one. She characterizes her termination as an involuntary resignation and insists she is eligible for 48 weeks of benefits from the severance package per the written criteria.

The complaint says that Greco filed a claim for the severance benefits, which was denied by human resources representatives in September and October 2013. The responses said that the change in hours did not qualify as a severance eligible event. Greco appealed the decision, which was upheld by Quest Diagnostics in May.

"The determination that [Greco] is not eligible for severance benefits under the aforementioned employee severance plan is contrary to the terms of the plan, at odds with the facts and circumstances of her involuntary termination and has no rational evidentiary support or basis," the claim says.

The plaintiff is represented by Brandon Swartz of Swartz Culleton in Newtown.

The federal case ID is 2:15-cv-00045-GAM.

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