Former Employee Sues for Failure to Accommodate Her Move to Jamaica

A retirement community in New York State is being sued by one of its former employees for improperly handling her Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave request. She claims they wrongfully ended her employment after she claimed she needed to stay in Jamaica indefinitely to take care of her ailing mother.

Jennifer Rosedom has worked for Kendal on Hudson as a housekeeper since 2006, according to the complaint.

In March 2016 Rosedom went to Jamaica to visit her mother, expecting to return on April 10, 2016.  Rosedom claims, however, that her mother became seriously ill during her visit and would need her to provide round-the-clock care and find a permanent caregiver.

Rosedom contacted her employer’s medical leave administrator, CIGNA, on April 1 to let them know she needed to apply for FMLA leave, according to the complaint. CIGNA informed Rosedom that she was eligible for FMLA leave and would have to submit medical documentation to support the request. CIGNA provided her with the required forms and told her they would have to be submitted within 15 days

Rosedom had her mother’s physician fill out the forms and says she faxed them back to CIGNA on April 11, 2016, according to the complaint. When she contacted CIGNA and confirmed that it had received the documents, she was told they were not sufficient, but would not explain how.

According to the complaint, CIGNA then issued two separate FMLA denial letters, one on April 28 that said she had not completed the FMLA certification, and another on May 19 that said Rosedom did not have the minimum service requirements, even though she was previously told she was eligible.

On April 29, 2016 Rosedom was informed that she was fired and accused of job abandonment. Rosedom claims she did not abandon her job, but that her employer “interfered with, restrained and denied . . . her substantive rights to leave under the FMLA by denying [her] FMLA leave request and terminating her employment,” the complaint states.

Rosedom seeks damages and reinstatement. The case was brought in the Southern District of New York by Jordan El-Hag of White Plains, New York.