Hospital worker files lawsuitHudson Hospital violated the Family Medical Leave Act when it fired a long-term employee who underwent surgery here instead of allowing her to return to work, according to a lawsuit recently filed in federal court.
By: By Kevin Murphy, Hudson Star-Observer
Special to the Star-Observer
MADISON — Hudson Hospital violated the Family Medical Leave Act when it fired a long-term employee who underwent surgery here instead of allowing her to return to work, according to a lawsuit recently filed in federal court.
The complaint filed June 20 alleges that Sharon Lynum of North Hudson received “generally positive performance reviews and periodic pay increases” before she was let go for telling her supervisors that she needed two weeks of leave to recover from gall bladder surgery.
Lynum had worked at the hospital for 20 years, most recently as a sterile processing technician.
She underwent gall bladder surgery at the hospital in December, according to the lawsuit. It says that the surgeon who performed the surgery filled out a FMLA form for Lynum to return to work on Dec. 19.
However, rather than allowing her to return to work, Carolyn Milbrath, director of human resources, told Lynum that she was being fired for “absenteeism,” the lawsuit alleges.
According to the lawsuit, the hospital’s policies state that any medical leave under the FMLA is not counted as an unexcused absence for the purpose of discipline or termination.
The FMLA of 1993 entitles employees with a “serious medical condition” who take leave from work to be restored to the job they held or an equivalent job before their leave began. Under the act, employees can receive up to 12 weeks unpaid leave to respond to family or personal health issues.
Lynum’s attorneys argue that she was on approved medical leave and that her termination by the hospital for “absenteeism” was unjust and in violation of federal law.
The suit seeks damages in excess of $75,000 for lost income and emotional distress.
In a phone call June 30, Milbrath said that “for the sake of Sharon and the hospital,” she couldn’t comment on the suit’s allegations.
Christopher Cook, a hospital spokesman, also declined to comment on the suit, citing privacy concerns.