Former Harrisburg bank worker sues ex-employer, alleging wrongful dismissal

By Kasey Schefflin-Emrich | Sep 3, 2015

A York County woman is suing a bank and its supervisor, alleging she was terminated after taking medical leave that she was eligible for under the law.

Berlesha Palmer filed a lawsuit July 27 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against Metro Bank of Harrisburg and Shanda Ruck, alleging violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

According to the complaint, Palmer started working for the defendants in March 2013 and performed her job in a satisfactory manner throughout her employment. The suit states Palmer requested FLMA leave first in August 2013 and then in April 2014 for surgery for endometriosis, hydro salpinx, severe pelvic pain, internal cysts and a hysterectomy.

Following her FMLA requests, the lawsuit says Palmer's immediate supervisor, Shanda Ruck, and other defendant agents began harassing and retaliating against her such as by routinely questioning her leave time, withholding approval for her leave requests, disciplining her with unjustified write-ups, watching her every move, forcing her to undergo further unnecessary medical evaluations, and forcing her to transfer with the threat of being fired if she didn't.

She eventually was terminated without cause the day after she left for the second FLMA leave in April 2014, the suit says.

As a result of the defendants' willful disregard for Palmer's rights and well being, the lawsuit states, the plaintiff experienced severe emotional distress, additional health conditions, humiliation and embarrassment, depression, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment in life, loss of earnings and an impairment in her future earning capacity.

Palmer seeks reinstatement, back and front pay, lost benefits, compensatory damages, liquidated damages, punitive damages, attorney fees and costs, plus other relief deemed appropriate by the court. She is represented by attorney Jeremy A. Donham of Donham Law in Morgantown, W. Va.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania case number 1:15-cv-01453-CCC.

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