A woman who claimed she was fired by email after asking for time off under the Family Medical Leave Act won two favorable verdicts from a Roanoke federal jury last week.
The jury win closely followed a judge’s ruling that her case could go to trial based on her allegations that she was fired in a series of text messages and emails after discussing her stress-related condition with her supervisor.
U.S. District Judge Glen E. Conrad denied a motion for summary judgment filed by the Botetourt County employer, a maker of explosives-handling equipment.
The case is LaMonaca v. Tread Corp. (VLW 015-3-296).
The case turned on a tense meeting between Valerie LaMonaca – the company’s human resources director – and her supervisor.
The supervisor claimed LaMonaca quit at that Friday meeting. LaMonaca contended she merely said she was considering leaving the job.
Over the weekend, a series of digital messages followed, the supervisor indicating he believed LaMonaca was resigning and LaMonaca asking for FMLA forms to request time off.
She also scheduled a doctor’s appointment for Monday. The doctor recommended a 30-day leave of absence.
LaMonaca claimed she was terminated by an email that same day.
Hearing testimony from both sides, the jury on July 7 ruled in LaMonaca’s favor on claims of both interference with her medical leave rights and retaliation.
She will get back pay set at $54,469. Other damages are to be decided by Conrad, explained Paul Beers, the Roanoke lawyer who represents LaMonaca.
Steven D. Brown of Richmond, who represents Tread Corp., told a reporter the company plans extensive post-trial motions.