Honolulu Television Station Receives $175,000 in FMLA Lawsuit

Tennessee workers and workers all across the country work hard to support themselves and their families each and every day. Sometimes however, situations come up where a worker needs to stay at home for an extended period of time to care for a sick loved one. This is when the Family Medical Leave Act usually allows a worker to do so. Unfortunately, though there are times when employers violate the rules of the Family Medical Leave Act and as a result the employee and their family usually suffer. If you feel that your FMLA rights have been violated, then you be entitled to compensation and should contact a Tennessee FMLA lawyer right away to help you.
In this case, Mary Zanakis, a reporter for KHON-TV claimed that her news director, Jim McCoy and their station manager at the time of the incident, Kent Baker, violated her FMLA rights by demoting her after she went on maternity leave in December of 1998. According to FMLA, a worker is entitled to return to his or her same position when returning from leave, unless the employer can show a reason why holding the position open would pose a hardship for the company or its workers.
Baker and McCoy denied this claim and stated that Zanakis position as reporter and producer of the medical segment of the station’s morning news show had been eliminated during her leave. They also claim that her termination in June of 1999 was a result of budget cuts being made and the quality of her work declining.
A federal court jury however, agreed with Zanakis and awarded her $87,000 in damages. Zanakis also wanted $770,000 more for wages she would have earned if she had continued to work at that station. However, a federal judge said she was not entitled to this amount because she had accepted another job with KITV for $45,000 a year in February of 2000. The judge however noted that Zanakis did apply to any other Honolulu TV stations and the salary she accepted at KITV was simply a result of her value in the news reporter market.
The judge also found that McCoy and Baker had “reasonable grounds for believing that their decision was not a violation of Family Medical Leave Act”.
The lawyers for both sides then agreed on a settlement amount of $175,000 which includes attorney fees.

If this case sounds familiar to you and you believe your FMLA rights have been violated, then we encourage you to contact one of our experienced and caring Tennessee FMLA attorneys immediately. We will hear your case and make sure you get the compensation and treatment you deserve. Feel free to contact our Nashville law office online or call 800.705.2121 to set up a FREE consultation to discuss your legal options.

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