Doctor’s FMLA retaliation claim reinstated

A federal appeals court has reinstated a retaliation charged filed by a physician who hired an attorney after her vacation was denied and was put on probation a month later.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld the dismissal of other charges filed by Dr. Chinwe Offor, a neonatologist who is an African-American of Nigerian descent, against Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, New York, including race and national origin discrimination, according to last week’s ruling in Dr. Chinwe Offor v. Mercy Medical Center et al.

However, the appeals court reinstated Dr. Offor’s Family Medical Leave Act retaliation claim, which had also been dismissed by the U.S. District Court in Central Islip, New York. 

Dr. Offor had claimed she suffered a series of negative actions, including denial of vacation, which led her to hire an attorney in November 2012. She was put on probation a month later.

Dr. Offor then filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in February 2014, and was terminated in August 2014.

Mercy Medical put Dr. Offor on probation “only one month after she retained an attorney, and that temporal proximity is enough at this stage to give rise to an inference of retaliatory intent,” said a unanimous three-judge panel in remanding the case for further proceedings.