PITTSBURGH – A former nurse manager is suing her former employer over a claim that she was forced to prematurely take medical leave away from her job, which allegedly eventually led to her termination.
Charlene R. Burgess filed a lawsuit Feb. 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania alleging a violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Burgess began her employment on Oct. 8, 2007 as a nurse manager at Chapel Ridge, a facility operated by Bradford Ecumenical Homes Inc., the suit says.
According to the claim, management forced Burgess to take FMLA leave on Sept. 17, 2014, three weeks before her Oct. 9, 2014 knee surgery – and despite her assertion that she had not requested FMLA at that time. That action, according to the lawsuit, interfered with Burgess’ rights under the FMLA.
She was fired on Nov. 3, 2014, via letter, the suit says. And the reason given for her termination, according to the lawsuit, was the lapse of her Medication Administration Trainer Certification, even though she alleges there is no requirement that a nurse manager hold such certification.
Burgess is seeking exemplary damages, wage loss damages, including back pay, front pay, lost fringe and other benefits of employment, liquidated damages and costs, and attorney’s fees.
Burgess, who is demanding a jury trial, is being represented by Arthur D. Martinucci of Quinn, Buseck, Leemuis, Toohey & Kroto, Inc. of Erie.
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania Case number 1:16-cv-00046