Weasel takes aim at former employer

Weasel takes aim at former employer

Hiring a weasel is generally a bad idea. There are exceptions, but not many.

So, this happened.

Matthew Donlin was a general manager for Petco who took FMLA leave in February 2016 for a medical condition that led to occasional flare-ups. By May of 2016, Donlin’s doctor cleared him to return to work with certain limitations.

Despite the clearance, Petco had a companywide policy that required employees to be 100% healed (i.e., able to return with the “certain limitations) and refused to let him back to work unless he could abide by that policy.

Eventually, Donlin was fired after he failed to complete a reasonable accommodation package that was a condition of his returning to work for Petco. Following his termination, Donlin sued, claiming his termination violated both the ADA and the FMLA.

The claims against the company’s policy are nothing groundbreaking, but here’s where the case gets interesting. During the litigation, Donlin issued requests for a variety of info from the company that included:

  • contact info for all persons involuntarily terminated from Petco’s employment due to a failure to return to work after FMLA leave, including all termination documents for workers who failed to request an accommodation or to certify 100% recovery
  • contact info for all persons after January 1, 2014, who complained that Petco interfered with or denied rights under the FMLA or ADA, including documents regarding any claim and Petco’s investigation of it, and
  • info and documents concerning FMLA and ADA complaints made to a governmental agency or in court about Petco.

Naturally, Petco objected to the tremendous administrative burden granting these requests require. It argued the info Donlin and his attorneys were requesting was not relevant or not reasonably calculated to lead to discoverable evidence. Petco also claimed the requests were overly broad and unduly burdensome (i.e., not reasonably limited to relevant circumstances of the employee’s employment, geography or decision-maker).

But the court disagreed.

In granting Donlin’s info request, the court also ordered Petco to pay all of the attorney’s fees and costs associated with filing it.

It’s pretty clear what happened here. The company changed his conditions of employment to reflect his medical conditions, is he was no longer able to operate as he used to. He then failed to abide by his new conditions of employment, and got fired for it. Now he’s taking revenge, because there is no way he is going to win this case, but by pretending to build a case for a class action lawsuit, which would fail anyways because there is no case, he was able to give the company a major headache with, with ridiculous legal fees to boot.

This is the kind of person that you would need to know about before hiring him, what you need to run a background check for. Many people would just check his employment record, and not know about the damage he’s done in pettiness. The background check, however, would turn it up.

So, run a background check.

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