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College of the Mainland Facing Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Cheryl Odom has filed a lawsuit against College of the Mainland (COM) in Texas City for alleged wrongful termination.  According to her the College fired her shortly after she underwent brain surgery. (Case No. 3:13-CV-0074)

Court documents state that Odom was employed by COM as a Program Coordinator II in its Teacher’s Certification Program when she exercised her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) between September 16, 2011, and January 3, 2012, in relation to brain surgery and subsequent recovery process.

Odom claims that she and the Director of COM’s Continuing Education Program were at odds over a proposed transfer of duties and responsibilities before she went on leave, stating the Director enacted changes supposedly detrimental to the department afterwards.   Odom also learned that the Director issued a negative work performance evaluation which apparently resulted in her position being placed on the budget chopping block.  Odom asserts “she went from a competent employee to one being attacked immediately upon her return to work” after taking her FMLA-mandated absence.

The school terminated her on Apr. 30, 2012, as a part of a reduction in force; however, the suit insinuates that the move was a revenge tactic.

According to the FMLA, eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave for serious health conditions. Employers must comply with the FMLA if they have at least 50 employees for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year.

Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if:

  • they have worked for the company for at least 1 year
  • they worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous year, and
  • they work at a location with at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.

If you have been wrongfully terminated or suffered discrimination due to your illness, please call California Employment Attorney Todd M. Friedman at 877-449-8898 for a free consultation.