Stylist accuses salon of FMLA violations

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | May 20, 2010

SHERMAN-A stylist for the SportClips salon in Little Elm claims she lost her job as retaliation for exercising her rights under the Family Medical Leave Act.

Deotta Herd filed suit against 4 Prophets LLC, doing business as Sportclips, and Pinnacle PEO Corp. on May 15 in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

According to the complaint, Herd began her career with SportClips as a stylist and assistant manager in May 2002, moving to the Sulphur Springs location in 2005. When the manager of the Little Elm store quit, Herd claims she was asked to become the manager on a salaried basis.

In 2007, the shop was bought by Jay Chamberlain and by April 2008, Herd states things took a turn for the worst. She states that she negotiated to step down as the manager but continue her occupation at a lower salary with specific dates and times for working in the Little Elm store.

In August 2009, Herd was diagnosed with severe artery disease and underwent double by-pass surgery. Herd states that Chamberlain assured her that her job would be there when she was released and that he would take care of the necessary paperwork under the FMLA with Pinnacle.

Herd was released to work a month later. However, Herd states that she was not offered the same hours or even store location to continue her employment. In January, Herd was told that Chamberlain was "laying her off."

According to the lawsuit, Chamberlain stated there was no work for Herd, although he hired another woman to work five days a week at the Little Elm store.

Herd argues that the defendant discriminated and retaliated against her by changing her working conditions and ultimately, by terminating her because she used her family medical leave.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for back pay and reinstatement, compensatory damages, and statutorily required liquidated damages, plus interest, attorneys' fees, and court costs.

Dallas attorney Monica L. Luebker of Glast Phillips & Murray is representing the plaintiff.

Jury trial requested.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell is assigned to the litigation.

Case No. 4:10cv00249

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