A Woodbridge personal injury law firm has been thrust into the news after it fired an employee who suffered a panic attack during lunch. Now the woman, Laura Springvloed, is suing her former employers for lost wages, court fees, attorneys’ fees, compensatory damages, consequential damages, and punitive damages.
According to the lawsuit, Springvloed claims she had anxiety problems which worsened following a surgery to remove a mass from her breast. On Feb. 22, 2013, she suffered a panic attack during lunch. She texted her boss, saying: “I’m not coming back. I’m physically shaking and suffering inside. I can’t do this anymore.”
By the end of the workday, Springvloed had been fired because of repeated absenteeism and habitually having to come into work late and leave work early. In her suit, Springvloed claimed that her former employers knew about her mental health issues and had been accommodating in the past.
The morning after her panic attack, Springvloed attempted to get her job back, but her company responded by returning her personal belongings.
Springvloed is suing under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, arguing that her former employers retaliated against her and terminated her employment because she was trying to exercise her legal rights. According to the suit, her firing has caused her severe emotional and financial distress.
This will be an interesting case because the law states that companies must give a reasonable level of accommodation for sick and injured employees. However, in her suit, Springvloed said that her former employers had allowed her multiple and intermittent medical leaves and made other accommodations for her during the course of a near-six-year stint.
Depending on her attorney’s strategy, a jury may rule that reasonable accommodations had already been made and that, at some point, enough is enough. Does an employer not have a right to expect their employees to be present and able to complete a workday?
At Team Law, our personal injury and employment law attorneys are proven leaders in the industry. If you’ve suffered a personal injury or are in an employment dispute, contact us today for a free consultation.