Mom's the Word: Allied Universal’s Maternity Leave Scandal Hits Virginia's Federal Courts
Written by: Sam Orlando
ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA — Was it just Kelly Martin, or did Allied Universal Corp. think that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was more of a suggestion than a law? According to a lawsuit filed by Martin, a former Allied Universal employee, the company decided to act like that friend who "didn't get the memo" about her maternity leave and then allegedly fired her for it.
Maternity Leave? What's That?
Kelly Martin, believing—call her crazy—that maternity leave was a right, informed her employer Allied Universal about her pregnancy and intention to take time off, as stated in the lawsuit. The company, however, didn't seem to think it was necessary to enlighten Ms. Martin about her FMLA rights. Either an oversight or someone at Allied Universal confused "employee handbook" with "optional reading material."
Working From the Maternity Ward, Anyone?
According to the legal documents, after Martin gave birth, she planned to focus on her newborn. Alas, her supervisor, Ms. McDowell, allegedly mistook maternity leave as "bring your baby to work" month. Despite being on leave, Ms. Martin was asked to work on work-related matters and even attend an in-person meeting a month after childbirth. I guess the memo about what "leave" means got lost in translation.
But Wait, We Have Meetings!
The lawsuit further alleges that Ms. McDowell, probably not being nominated by Martin for any "Boss of the Year" awards soon, required Ms. Martin to attend an in-person meeting just a month after having her baby. For those of us who understand the basics of maternity leave, that typically involves not being at work. But hey, maybe McDowell just thought Zoom meetings were so 2020.
The Classic "Temporary Position" Plot Twist
According to the lawsuit, upon her return from her maternity leave, Ms. Martin was informed that her position was being "terminated" because it was "temporary." Ah, the word "temporary," apparently as fluid as Allied Universal's understanding of employment law. Ms. Martin was also encouraged to consider other roles that would suit her "situation," aka her newfound motherhood. Yes, because when you become a parent, your love for odd and inconsistent hours just blossoms overnight.
The Irony of It All
The lawsuit alleges that not only was Ms. Martin’s position not really "temporary," but the company was still hiring for similar roles. Well, well, well, it seems Allied Universal found itself in a situation as tangled as a pair of earbuds in your pocket.
As this legal drama unfolds faster than a baby spitting up on a new shirt, one thing is for sure: Allied Universal might soon wish FMLA was just a series of random letters.
Important: This article is based on ongoing legal proceedings, and the allegations mentioned are not yet proven in court. Stay tuned to Breaking Through News, as we will update this story with Allied Universal's response or answer to the claims once filed.