Woman alleges termination from McDonald's due to 'pink eye'

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 23, 2008, 5:25am

MARSHALL � A former McDonald's employee claims she was fired from her job partly because she had a case of "pink eye."

Casander Figures took a leave of absence from her job at the McDonald's in Jefferson after she contracted conjunctivitis. Figures states she also needed time off to care for her sick husband, thus allowing her protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which she claims McDonald's did not allow.

Figures filed a wrongful termination suit against R&N Griggs LP doing business as McDonald's Restaurant and Griggs Enterprise of Louisiana LLC on Oct. 16 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

According to the complaint, Figures was employed full-time as a crew person and later promoted to a shift manager.

Court documents state that on May 21, after working more than 13 hours, her right eye started swelling and itching. Another manager observed Figures' eye and told her to go home. Figures went home and went to sleep.

The next morning, her eye condition was worse and she called and sent pictures of her eye to the manager of the McDonald's. Figures claims she also called the area manager, who told her that if she wanted to take off work she would need a doctor's excuse.

Figures states she attempted to find an appointment but was unable to make one for a couple days so she went to the emergency room.

The ER doctor diagnosed her with conjunctivitis, commonly called "pink eye," gave her a prescription and a work release.

The work release did not state a specific day for Figures to return to work. Figures returned to the doctor to obtain a more specific work release and for treatment of her other eye. The doctor released her to work five days later.

However, Figures states that the area manager called her and asked her to return to work after four days.

About a week after her work release period was up, Figures' husband, a dialysis patient, suffered a medical setback. Figures was off for two days, when she had a meeting with the district manager to request more time off to care for her weakened husband.

According to Figures, the district manager refused her additional time off, so Figures got her possessions together and left McDonald's.

The complaint states, "The condition of her husband's health has now improved, so that she is ready to return to work."

Arguing McDonald's violated the provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act, Figures is seeking damages for financial loss, loss of employment benefits, liquidated damages, attorney fees, any unpaid overtime and the return of her position.

The plaintiff is represented by Dallas attorneys W.D. Masterson and John H. Crouch of the law firm Kilgore and Kilgore PLLC.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward is assigned to the litigation.

Case No 2:08cv00395

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