Employee alleges Tyson violated FMLA

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Oct 8, 2009

SHERMAN � A forklift operator at the Tyson plant in Sherman alleges that her employer violated the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by not allowing her intermittent leave due to a swollen knee.

Stephanie Homsey filed suit against Tyson Foods on Sept. 25 in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Homsey states that she suffers from a knee condition that causes periodic swelling and pain. She claims she requested intermittent leave under the FMLA and provided a doctor's certification that the breaks were reasonably necessary because of occasional flare ups.

After a week off, she states that she was not permitted to start her regular shift but was sent to human resources.

According to Homsey, the human resources director had previously told her that she could not work intermittent leave and that if she could not work full time she would need to go on full medical leave.

The human resources director produced a request for 12 weeks of medical leave and asked Homsey to sign it.

"Not wanting to take a 12 week leave, but instead desiring intermittent leave only, Plaintiff refused to sign the document. Plaintiff has not been permitted to work since," the complaint states.

The plaintiff believes Tyson interfered with her rights under FMLA by not honoring her request for intermittent leave. Further, the plaintiff argues that Tyson effectively terminated her employment by denying her request for intermittent leave.

Homsey is seeking damages for lost past wages and benefits, lost future wages and benefits, liquidated damages, pre and post-judgment interest and attorney's fees.

Dallas attorneys Steven B. Thorpe and Carla S. Hatcher of law firm Thorpe, Hatcher and Washington PLLC are representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell is assigned to the litigation and has referred the case to Magistrate Judge Don D. Bush for pretrial proceedings.

Case No 4:09cv00494

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