Age and FMLA Discrimination
I was hired with GRT Rubber Technologies as Human Resources Director on 1-19-2015 at $ 85,000 per year. In May 2016, I received a $ 3,000 pay increase to $ 88,000 per year.
On July 7, 2016, I hired a 32 yr old female to fill a vacant Human Resources Generalist position at $ 48,000. She had two years’ experience working in HR through temp employment.
On 8/12/2016, I began having chest pains and spent time in the hospital for tests. I was eventually diagnosed on 8-17-2016 with a herniated C 6-7 and had surgery the following day. I applied for FMLA and was approved for 12 weeks. Two weeks after surgery, I returned to work 3 weeks early with my neck brace on and was able to work given my job duties.
After surgery when I was home recovering 8-19-2016, I sent David (president) a text that I was home and had my laptop and could be on-line working to help. He responded, “Good to hear, get better. Don’t worry about work”.
On 10/03/2016, I returned for a follow-up visit with the neurologist and he allowed me to remove the neck brace, however, the lifting restriction was increased from 10 lbs to 15 lbs.
The FMLA paperwork show the period of incapacity from 8-12-2016 to 11-13-2016. And, follow-up visits on 11-9-2016 and 2-9-2017.
On 10/6/2016, the president of the company came to my office and said, “I got some bad news”. We are going to have to let you go. Our business is down and we are struggling to make financial quarter. He offered me a severance agreement and release of 6 weeks. I have 21 days to sign the severance agreement. He said, this was a hard to decision and apologized about the timing. He said, he was going to reach out to the retired HR Manager and see if he would be available as a consultant if the new HR Generalist had questions.
The timing of the separation was days after removing the neck brace.
Why would you release a 51 yr old with 20+ year’s experience (2 years company service) and keep a 32 yr old with (3 months company service)
I was the only person separated
Do I have an age or FMLA case?