Today's BrokeAndBroker.com Blog publishes a commentary about a recent FINRA intra-industry arbitration pitting an associated person against her former firm, Invesco Distributors, Inc., as a result of her allegedly wrongful termination. A centerpiece of this dispute is the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Case In Point
In a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") Arbitration Statement of Claim filed in April 2016 and amended thereafter, Claimant Marchel asserted violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1992 ("FMLA"), wrongful termination, and breach of contract in connection with her purported wrongful termination by Respondent Invesco after she requested FMLA leave. Claimant requested in excess of $5,000,000.00 in compensatory damages, $198,360.00 in commissions, costs, interest, attorneys' fees.. In the Matter of the FINRA Arbitration Between Laurie B. Marchel , Claimant, vs. Invesco Distributors, Inc., Respondent (FINRA Arbitration 16-01070, March 17, 2017).
Respondent Invesco generally denied the allegations and asserted various affirmative defenses.
According to the United States Department of Labor/ Wage and Hour Division's website:
The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to:
Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
Twenty-six workweeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the servicemember's spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).
- the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
- the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
- to care for the employee's spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
- a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
- any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee's spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on "covered active duty;" or
Respondent Invesco moved for leave to take Claimant's deposition in December, 2016, which the FINRA Arbitration Panel denied without prejudice in January 2017. At the close of Claimant's case in chief, Respondent moved for a directed verdict, which the Panel denied without prejudice.
The FINRA Arbitration Panel found Respondent Invesco liable to and ordered it to pay to Claimant Marchel $305,800 in compensatory damages plus $77,000 in attorneys fees pursuant to the FMLA.
Bill Singer's Comment