IT Company Sued after Firing Serial Leave-Taker

A systems programmer analyst has filed suit in the Eastern District of New York for unlawful termination because she took protected family leave time to care for her mother. The woman took three summers off in a row, and was ultimately called out by a supervisor.

Nora Monaco was hired by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) in 2000 as a systems programmer analyst and worked from her home, according to the complaint. She claims she never received any complaints about her work with CSC and that her 2015-16 performance evaluation received a rating of “exceeds all expectations.”

Beginning in 2014 and for the next two years, Monaco applied for, and was granted, three Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) absences in order to care for her seriously ill mother.  These absences occurred June through September for three years in a row, according to the complaint.

During her approved leave periods, she was asked by her supervisor, Joe Zipp, to perform some work. “[She] agreed to do so because she believed that her job depended on her agreement to do this work while on FMLA leave,” the complaint states. Zipp also texted her during her leave to ask her how her “vacation” was going and told her he was annoyed that she was on leave.

In 2016, when CSC was considering who to lay off, Zipp asked Monaco’s project manager “would you rather have Nora Monaco for 9 months a year or David Gonzalez for 12 months a year?” the complaint states.

In January 2017, Monaco’s employment was terminated, purportedly, she claims, as part of a reduction in force. She further claims that CSC retained a lower performing, less qualified male employee to perform her duties, according to he complaint.

Monaco claims the only reason CSC terminated her was because she took FMLA absences. “Because the leave that [Monaco] took was FMLA-qualifying, the decision to terminate her in retaliation for taking this leave is in violation of her rights under the FMLA and the FMLA’s anti-retaliation provisions,” the complaint states.

Monaco is represented by Ronald Weisenberg of New York, New York.

Image Credit: popofatticus (Flickr)