Manager alleges East Texas company fired her during medical leave

By Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau | Sep 23, 2013

A general manager has filed a lawsuit against an East Texas company claiming that she was fired while she was out on medical leave recovering from an on-the-job injury.

Sherry Vanwinkle filed suit against Chicken SeTex-Lumberton on Sept. 20 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

Vanwinkle served as general manager for the defendant’s predecessor for more than five years. According to the lawsuit, Vanwinkle sustained an on-the-job injury to her knee and she was out on medical leave in June 2013.

When the defendant took over, it contacted Vanwinkle and told her that it “decided to take another avenue” and terminated her employment.

The defendant is accused of violating the Family and Medical Leave Act for discharging Vanwinkle while she was out on medical leave and for retaliating against Vanwinkle for seeking workers’ compensation benefits.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for lost wages and benefits, compensatory damages, interest, liquidated damages, exemplary damages, court costs, attorney’s fees and interest.

Vanwinkle is represented by Melissa Morales Fletcher of Melissa Morales Fletcher PC in San Antonio and Lawrence Morales II of The Morales Firm P.C. in San Antonio.

A jury trial is requested.

Case No. 1:13-cv-00590

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