CLARKSBURG – A woman is suing Wal-mart after she claims her employment was wrongfully terminated.
Wal-mart Associates Inc.; Wal-mart Stores East; Wal-mart Stores Inc.; and Sedgwick Claims Management Services were all named as defendants in the suit.
Nora Summers was hired by Wal-mart in 1998 as a sales associate. She worked for Wal-mart until May 24, 2016, according to a complaint filed in Harrison Circuit Court on Aug. 22 and removed to federal court on Sept. 22
Summers claims in 2005, her husband was diagnosed with cancer and, in 2015, he became seriously ill and required more medical treatment and assistance with his care.
In order to provide her husband with the needed care, Summers applied for intermittent leave under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act and Sedgwick was contracted to handle and process the request, according to the suit.
Summers claims she was approved for leave for Jan. 26, 2016, through July 25, 2016.
The plaintiff was absent from work on five occasions between April 28, 2016, and May 8, 2016, to care for her husband, according to the suit. On May 10, 2016, Summers’ supervisor advised her that she had five unexcused absences and that she had called the wrong number to report her FMLA absences. She was given 15 days to correct the reporting error with Sedgwick.
Summers claims she quickly contacted Sedgwick to straighten out the reporting error and it denied her request for retroactive approval of her absences because she had not contacted the company within three days.
Sedgwick’s arbitrary limitations and stated basis for denial of Summers’ FMLA leave is not support by law, according to the suit.
Summers claims Wal-mart terminated her employment on May 24, 2016, for excessive absences.
The defendants knew and understood that Summers’ absences qualified for FMLA leave, but nonetheless fired her from her job at a time when it knew and understood that her husband was seriously ill and that hers was the only paycheck coming into the household, according to the suit.
Summers claims following her firing, she lost the $15,000 life insurance policy she had purchased on her husband, as well as her own life insurance policy that she had consistently held during her 18 years of employment.
Summers is seeking reinstatement and compensatory damages. She is being represented by Jane E. Peak of Allan N. Karlin & Associates.
Wal-mart is represented by Eric E. Kinder of Spilman Thomas & Battle.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number: 1:17-cv-00160