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News Brief

Department of Labor files suit alleging US Cotton terminated pregnant machine operator in violation of Family and Medical Leave Act

Date of Action: Feb. 4, 2015

Type of Action: Complaint

Name of Defendant: U.S. Cotton LLC, 15501 Industrial Parkway, Cleveland, Ohio

Allegations: U.S. Cotton LLC, of Cleveland, wrongfully terminated the employment of a pregnant machine operator who requested leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act due to illness related to her pregnancy.

U.S. Cotton had approved a medical leave condition note presented by the machine operator's health care provider on Nov. 12, 2012, that specified that she may be absent from work intermittently due to severe nausea and vomiting during her pregnancy.

The company allegedly terminated the employee under its "no show, no call" policy because a family member on Feb. 11, 2013, called to notify management that the worker would not be in that day due to severe illness. The company alleges that the worker should have called herself.

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons.

Resolution: The department is asking the court to reinstate the machine operator and award her back wages, employment benefits and other compensation found due. The complaint also seeks an equal amount in liquidated damages.

Quote: "U.S. Cotton has a legal and moral responsibility to abide by an eligible employee's right to medical leave when provided with proper documentation," said George Victory, district director for Wage and Hour Division in Columbus. "This worker did everything required to protect her job, while enduring a medical condition that her employer knew may create unexpected absence. The Family Medical Leave Act enables employees to balance both their job and family responsibilities. An employee should never have to choose between their job and their health."

Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division

Docket Number: Perez v. U.S. Cotton LLC, 1:15-cv-00226

Wage and Hour Division
February 11, 2015
Release Number
Media Contact: Scott Allen
Phone Number
Media Contact: Rhonda Burke
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