Saks employee claims constructive discharge in suit

Michelle Massey Mar. 21, 2011, 2:54am


A Saks Fifth Avenue employee claims a demotion was in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act in a lawsuit filed March 17 in federal court in New Orleans.

Jennifer Mehrgut claims she started working for Saks in April 2007 until her constructive discharge in July 2010.

According to her complaint, Mehrgut went on vacation in May 2009 but during her vacation was hospitalized out of state. She requested and was granted a leave of absence under the Family Medical Leave Act for roughly eleven weeks. When Mehrgut returned to work she was demoted from her position in Cosmetics earning $24 an hour to a position in Men's Accessories earning $10 an hour.

She claims she was demoted because she took medical leave. Mehrgut took a second medical leave from Jan. 1, 2010 through Feb. 2, 2010. She quit her position in July.

"Ms. Mehrgut alleges that such a reduction in duties, responsibility and pay under these circumstances created an untenable situation, so much so, that a reasonable person under similar circumstances would feel compelled to resign," the lawsuit states.

The plaintiff is asking for an award of lost or denied wages, salary, employment benefits, interest, liquidated damages equal to employment, reinstatement and promotion, court costs and attorneys' fees.

Mehrgut is represented by New Orleans attorneys James L. Arruebarrena and Rachel Martin-Deckelmann. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Martin L. C. Feldman is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00608

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