Lawsuit: Wegmans Told Employee to “Suck It up” Instead of Granting FMLA

by Evil HR Lady on August 11, 2018

Wegmans is a grocery store with an absolutely stellar reputation. They are currently in the number two spot on Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work for, and they’ve been on that list for the past 21 years. They promote from within, they offer scholarships, and their employees generally love them.

All of this contributes to the shock I felt when employment attorney Jon Hyman brought a recent lawsuit against Wegmans to my attention. Hyman explained the lawsuit as follows:

[Jordan Bartman] recently filed suit against her ex-employer, alleging that when she requested FMLA leave for chronic depression and anxiety, her manager told her to “suck it up,” and chastised her for being a “burden to all the kitchen staff.” She claims that the more she was harassed and singled out, the more her condition worsened, which in turn led to a greater need for leave, and even more harassment. Ultimately she was fired for “chronic absences, tardiness, and failure to follow [call-in] procedures.”

Any of you with the slightest understanding of FMLA and conditions such as depression and anxiety know that, if true, this is a huge law violation.

To keep reading, click here: Lawsuit: Wegmans Told Employee to “Suck It up” Instead of Granting FMLA

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Parker Davis August 11, 2018 at 12:49 pm

BAD BAD BAD. Where anywhere does it indicate that Wegman’s has responded? Where does it indicate that any of the allegations have been verified? Where does it indicate there is a court decision?
You have crossed the line here. Any clown can file a complaint and right now there are ONLY allegations. It does indicate she may have failed to follow procedures such as call in. You disparage this company with ZERO proof of this allegation. You have joined the ranks of fake news

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Elizabeth West August 11, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Oh please. Can the fake news crap–it only makes you sound like a conspiracy nutbag.

Suzanne didn’t disparage the company. She just reiterated why doing this would violate the law and gave advice to business owners who want to avoid a similar situation. If you’ve ever worked in retail or food service, you know this kind of thing is depressingly common. She also pointed out that even a great company can hire a cruddy manager, which seems to be the case here.

Reading comprehension is a good thing. 😛

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Parker Davis August 13, 2018 at 1:53 pm

perhaps you read the “revised” posting, the one without the employer bashing. Having worked in both retail and food service I can tell you that “that kind of thing” is no more common than any other industry. However, in both those industries absences, especially without call in, are much more a critical event. Yes, even a great company can hire a cruddy manager. That does not make it a bad company.

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Evil HR Lady August 13, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Parker, there was no revised posting. I did fix one grammatical error, but otherwise, the post is the same as when it first went up.

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BethRA August 13, 2018 at 3:22 pm

Did you even read the article? At no point does she say Wegman’s is a bad company. She went out of her way to explain how/why things like this happen at even great companies.

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Becky Mcintyre August 11, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Woulda could ashould a. Since Wegman’s hasn’t responded, it is so far just an unfounded allegation. Anyone can file a suit, frivolous or not.

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Goober August 13, 2018 at 6:32 am

Anyone can file a suit, frivolous or not, but short of some pretty dedicated lying to the lawyer, not without putting up some cash up front. And not pocket change.

Television and the internet tell us that anyone can file a lawsuit on a contingency and the lawyers will jump at the chance, but television and the internet are wrong.

Yeah, it’s possible this is complete BS, and that the plaintiff has lied to her lawyer, but it’d be a little bit of a surprise if there isn’t *something* to the claims.

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KF August 11, 2018 at 6:31 pm

As someone who worked for Wegamans in the Rochester area, both at store and at corporate level, I am not surprised. As much as I loved Wegmans and had some wonderful managers, I also encountered some of the worst managers. Several who were downright mean and unreasonable, even ignorant, and yet kept their positions for years. It could be very frustrating at times because one often felt they had no recourse. I hope she wins her lawsuit and forces Wegmans to take a good hard look at how their managers are trained and hopefully put into place some measures that would make it easier for employees to bring complaints to HR when they feel they are being mistreated.

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Maria Rose August 11, 2018 at 6:53 pm

I was going to make a comment about the employee who probably wasn’t a stellar employee but then I read the entire article which went into the lack of preparation is given in store management teams to handle situations which obviously need HR to handle the paperwork.
Having worked with problem co-workers and managers over the year, the key missing element is a way for everyone to deal with problems like this without frustrations on both sides. In terms of the management, just give the employee the means to file for whatever leave of absence but if the position cannot be handled without a replacement employee, the management should be given options to cover without short-staffing or eliminating the job for the employee. Too often, LOA’s are considered part of the labor cost to a specific store but in a retail situation like Weyman’s, you need every position with active employees, not ghosts on LOA.

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