I was terminated from my job of nearly 12 years while out on FMLA. The reason was job elimination. My position was General Manager. The new position replacing the General Manager position is chef manager. Here are some of the facts: There were no indications that any changes in the business structure were being considered prior to my going out on FMLA. As a matter of fact just several weeks prior to going out on FMLA (for health reason with a doctor's note) we wrote a budget that included my position and an Executive chef position, the new restructured positions are chef manager and food service manager. These positions were supposedly rolled out as a business restructuring. However the facts are that we outperformed our budget requirements so much so that after being fired I received my annual bonus that is earned only by doing better than budget. In addition I have a chef background so it makes sense that I was qualified for the new position but was told in a letter from the company that I could apply for the new chef manager role rather than just being offered it. I was out on FMLA under a doctor's care for Acute stress reaction which was a direct result of the Exec chef being fired 6 months earlier and my having to cover the chefs duties as well as my own as GM with no support from my boss, HR or the local district.I was working 60 to 70 hour weeks for approx. 6 months. I informed HR and my direct boss that the situation was overwhelming. This was ignored. Upon being fired while on FMLA I was offered a severance package of 1 weeks pays for each year of service however in accepting this it seemed to limit my rights to sue for illegal termination. My condition at the time was pretty extreme and is documented on my medical records, IE heart stress test, medication etc.. I mention this only because my clarity of thoughts at the time was nonexistent. I was home in bed midafternoon, unable to sleep at night etc. In short I was a mess and I took the offer because I was 100% beat into the ground, feeling desperate with no options. And my mind and thought process was compromised . This happened in Oct - Nov 2010. Some additional fact are my annual reviews were outstanding as well as my customer and client survey scores. In short I was a documented high performer. It makes sense that if there were needs to change the structure of the business those changes would include me as my performance and successes over the 12 years clearly indicated that there was no logical reason to not have me included in any business changes. Fast forward to current day. Over the past 1 yr. and 4 months there have been 4 people in the position that have either quit or been fired, the account has not made budget, survey scores are poor and sales are much lower than the days of my leadership. Now the company is switching back to the GM and Exec chef set up that they switched from which enabled them to fire me while on FMLA. Wouldn't make sense that if eliminating my position allowed the company to fire me while out sick on FMLA that the company should be required to offer the GM position to me now that they are restructuring back
I understand a person could be fired while on FMLA however quite honestly you do not fire a manager that was performing to the level that I was, I feel I was fired because of taking FMLA as nothing leading up to this indicated these changes were being considered.
The company I am referring to in a huge international foodservice company with a past history of many lost lawsuits linked to unethical behaviors and discrimination.
Your thoughts... anyone know a strong lawyer in Arizona that specializes in this?