Jill Traxler began working in the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (“the County”) in 1987 and was promoted to the Human Resources unit in 1988. By 1998 she had become the interim Personnel Unit Manager and later was promoted to Human Resources Manager I.
The FMLA entitles certain employees to “12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period” if the employee has a serious health condition, gives birth or adopts a son or daughter, or needs to care for a “spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent [who] has a serious health condition.” 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1). Beginning in 2002, Traxler took medical leave under the FMLA, and again in 2005, she took leave due to a serious physical health condition. During her employment, Traxler never took more than the leave permitted under the FMLA.
On June 13, 2005, the County notified Traxler that her position would be eliminated effective July 1, 2005, and it had a uniformed officer escort Traxler out of the office. She was placed on paid administrative leave, and then transferred to a lower paying position. Traxler continued to take leave under the FMLA, and in September 2005, she received an unfavorable performance review in her new position. Traxler filed a written response to the performance review, but to no avail. The County terminated Traxler in late September 2005.
Traxler filed suit under the FMLA and the Oregon counterpart. After a four-day trial, the jury found that the County had taken adverse employment actions against Traxler in response to her legitimate use of protected leave under the FMLA. The jury awarded Traxler $250,000 in damages (back pay) up to the time of trial and $1,551,000 in front pay. The court declined to enter a judgment for liquidated damages.
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Related Categories: Civil Procedure , Damages , Employment
|Circuit Court Judge(s)|
|Trial Court Judge(s)|
|Appellant Lawyer(s)||Appellant Law Firm(s)|
|Daniel J. Snyder|
|Appellee Lawyer(s)||Appellee Law Firm(s)|
|Jenny M. Morf||Multnomah County Attorney's Office|