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  • Writer's pictureKirstin Kennedy

Woman filed suit claiming wrongful termination, retaliation by CA company

For immediate release

PITTSBURGH – A Pennsylvania woman has alleged that California-based employer Grifols Biomat USA, Inc. terminated her position after she sought reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and time off through the Family and Medical Leave Act.

According to a complaint filed in the Western District Court of Pennsylvania, Plaintiff Lisa Cooper began working as a Lead Phlebotomist for Grifols Biomat USA in May 2014. Ms. Cooper was responsible for collecting blood from donors, processing plasma, and acting as a machine technician, according to the complaint. The job required her to be on her feet for about eight-and-a-half hours every day.

Prior to her hiring, Ms. Cooper was diagnosed with Degenerative Disk Disease, which she allegedly disclosed to Grifols Biomat USA at the start of her employment. According to the complaint, she began to experience intense pain when she stood for long periods of time. In 2016, Ms. Cooper, upon the recommendation of her physician, requested that she be able to take two ten-minute breaks during her shift to help her deal with her pain, according to the complaint. She alleged that this accommodation would help her to most effectively perform her job.

According to the complaint, her supervisor said that such breaks would only be possible if she were able to find another employee to cover her shift during the breaks. Due to the facility being short-staffed at that time, Ms. Cooper was not able to seek help from her co-workers, according to the complaint. Additionally, she alleged that she was not in charge of employment or scheduling and was thus not able to direct coverage by other employees.

In the filing, Ms. Cooper alleged that Grifols Biomat USA took no action in providing her with a reasonable accommodation based on her disability. According to the complaint, Ms. Cooper’s pain worsened, and she was forced to take several days off of work to deal with her disease. In September 2018, a supervisor suggested that she file for leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act, according to the filing. She alleged that she filled out and submitted the appropriate paperwork for FMLA, but soon noticed that her paychecks stopped reflecting the overtime hours that she had worked. According to the complaint, when she raised her concern to her supervisor, Ms. Cooper was threatened with a write-up and was not issued her owed pay. She alleged that she was never compensated for the overtime hours that she worked.

By December 2019, Ms. Cooper had not heard back about her application for FMLA leave, but she continued to experience severe pain, according to the report. She alleged that she called off as a result of the pain, and, at that time, learned that her FMLA paperwork had never been filed by her supervisor. According to the complaint, she was terminated the next day.

Lead Attorney Prabhu Narahari asserted violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Wage Payment and Collection Law. Such claims include interference and retaliation.

Prior to the filing of the lawsuit, Ms. Cooper filed a complaint through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and was provided a right to sue. The lawsuit was filed by Attorney Narahari on February 12, 2020.

Ruppert Manes Narahari is a Pittsburgh-based employment law firm representing workers who have been wrongfully terminated, harassed, or cheated by their employers. The firm also provides business law-related services and represents small businesses and entrepreneurs in startup, transactional, and litigation matters.

For more information on the claims made by Ms. Cooper against Grifols Biomat USA, contact the law office of Ruppert Manes Narahari at 412-626-5626.


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