James Moore was told that he had developed chronic leukemia in late 2009. Despite having been a loyal employee for over twelve years, his life was further complicated when he was demoted from his position with the Camden County Communications Center. Moore has now sued in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, claiming that his demotion was not the result of poor job performance, but rather, that it was the result of retaliation taken by his employer after he had take time off from work to seek treatment for his illness.
When he first learned of his condition, Moore requested two weeks of time off to seek treatment. After these two weeks were up, Moore's boss mandated that he take an additional two weeks. Two days after this, Moore was demoted and had his pay cut by approximately twenty-five percent. Moore's supervisor claims that Moore had stated that he would no longer be able to perform his job duties. Moore denies that this conversation ever took place, stating that he was on vacation at the time his supervisor claims this discussion occurred.
In his suit, Moore claims that his employer violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides job protection to employees who must take leave from their jobs in order to pursue medical treatment. Moore points to the fact that his demotion so closely followed his FMLA claim as evidence that his job status was unfairly changed due to an uncontrollable medical condition. Additionally, Moore claims that his demotion was a violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
Although the Camden County Communications Center tried to have the case dismissed, a judge denied the county's motion for summary judgment. Instead, the court believes that Moore's claim has merit and should proceed to trial. Moore will now have the opportunity to plead his case to a jury who will decide whether his demotion was justified or a retaliatory act of his employer for which he can recover.
Source: Moore v. Cnty of Camden, Civ. 10-3044 RMB/JS, 2013 WL 1903300 (D.N.J. May 7, 2013).