Pre-school insists it did not discriminate against woman allegedly fired for taking maternity leave

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jun. 10, 2013, 4:15pm

HOUSTON - A private pre-school and daycare facility facing a lawsuit alleging it fired a Katy woman for taking maternity leave formally refutes her claims, recent court documents say.

TDNGUYEN INC., doing business as Kids R Kids Quality Learning Center #32 TX, submitted its original answer to Crystal M. Harrison's suit on May 13.

Harrison argues her former employer discriminating against her because she exercised her rights under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993.

Though she received approval for the aforementioned maternity leave, according to the original petition, KRK later e-mailed the plaintiff a week before her scheduled return to notify her that her position “is no longer available and there is no room at the front desk at this time” and was “forced to fill the position.”

The suit claims the defendant replaced Harrison with a woman who had her baby a week before she did, saying it offered incentives and a promotion to management for the latter’s early return to work.

Meanwhile, KRK insists that neither it or Harrison are covered by the FMLA.

Harrison was an at-will employee, not subject to an employment contract for a fixed term, the response says.

The school states it did all it could to ensure that the complainant was not subject to discriminatory behavior yet she "unreasonably failed to take advantage of corrective opportunities provided by [it] or otherwise to avoid harm."

"The defendant did not act with malice or willfulness with respect to the plaintiff's rights," the answer says.

Attorney Joseph W. Gagnon of Fisher & Phillips LLP in Houston is representing KRK.

Case No. 4:13-CV-602

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