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Flight attendant files wrongful termination lawsuit

Many working individuals can likely relate to the difficulty of dealing with a personal or health matter while working. In many cases personal issues such as a divorce or death of a parent take a great toll on an individual's psyche. These types of issues can greatly impact an individual's ability to concentrate and perform every day duties. For these reasons, employees struggling with health or personal problems often take time off of work under the Family Medical Leave Act. 

One former airline flight attendant recently filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Texas-based Southwest Airlines Co. According to court documents, the female employee had been diagnosed with diabetes, bipolar disorder and depression. Despite dealing with these serious health issues, the woman was gainfully employed as a flight attendant with Southwest for 17 years.

During 2010, the woman's father died which exacerbated her underlying mental conditions. Experiencing serious mental health problems, the woman was forced to take time off of work and seek medical treatment. Upon her return to work, the woman was briefly fired, but then allowed to return to her job.

Southwest Airlines has a company policy which allows for the termination of employees who miss 12 or more days of work. Upon her return to work, the woman was informed she had missed 11 days while attempting to take care of herself. During Sep. 2012, the woman was forced to take time off of work to treat a foot injury. At this time, Southwest informed the woman she had a total of 27 days of leave remaining under FMLA.

The woman was subsequently fired after arriving to work four minutes late. She recently filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Southwest in which she accuses her former employer of disability discrimination and for violating provisions of FMLA.

Source: The Southest Texas Record, "Former flight attendant takes Southwest to court for wrongful termination," John Suayan, July 29, 2013

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