25 February 2014
Mayer Brown won a major victory on behalf of Foster Farms in a closely-watched employment case involving family and medical leave rights, when the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision in favor of Foster Farms.
The plaintiff, Maria Escriba, a former employee in Foster’s Turlock, Calif., turkey plant, filed the suit in 2009 under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), after she was discharged for failing to show up for work or call within three days of her expected return date following a two-week vacation. According to Foster Farms, Ms. Escriba violated the company’s “three day no-show, no-call rule” in the union contract covering all Foster Farms employees who are members of UCFW Local 588.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed a defense verdict in favor of Foster Farms and agreed with the jury’s findings that Ms. Escriba had failed to provide reasonable notice to Foster Farms for a family medical leave of absence and that Foster Farms had not violated any of her rights.
“We are very gratified that the Ninth Circuit agreed that by preserving an employee’s right to determine the status and type of their leave requests, both the employee and the employer benefit,” said Carmine Zarlenga, a partner with Mayer Brown who represented Foster Farms in this matter at trial and on appeal. “Otherwise the burden on employers would be disproportionate if not extreme.”
The team also included counsel Maritoni Kane at trial and associate Michael Kimberly on appeal.