BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A lawsuit filed on Tuesday claims a former employee of the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office was fired in retaliation for her request for time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act, according to court documents.
The suit claims that an assistant district attorney, hired in March 2021, was terminated in November 2021 following her request for time off after her husband’s cancer diagnosis a month prior.
The suit mentions several conversations with high-ups in the DA’s office, including District Attorney Jason Schmidt. The woman claims that she advised human resources on or about Nov. 24, 2021 that she would go forward with her medical leave, and received an email from Schmidt later that day that she had been terminated effective immediately.
She claims that two days before she was fired, she began to receive inquiries about a criminal plea that she had handled three months before and whether she had authorization to enter that plea. She says that she did have authorization and produced call logs to substantiate that.
The suit alleges that the DA’s office “intentionally and willfully interfered with and denied the exercise of rights provided under the FMLA by terminating her employment after she applied for FMLA leave.”
The defendant is seeking an award in damages to be awarded at the trial, including past and future income as well as other benefits.
In response, Chautauqua County’s County Attorney Patrick Slagle said “We are aware that a lawsuit has been filed against the County; however, the County has not yet been served any documents and we cannot comment on pending litigation at this time.”
Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.