Gonzales Marriott sued by former employee over sick leave dispute

Kyle Barnett Jan. 26, 2012, 5:27pm

Donna U. Grodner

DONALDSONVILLE – An East Baton Rouge Parish woman is suing a hotel where she was formerly employed for not granting multiple requests for sick leave.

Leann Rainey Westman filed suit on Jan. 19 in the 23rd Judicial District against Avalon Hotel Group.

Westman claims she was employed as an executive assistant to general manager Cindi Smiley at the Gonzales-based TownePlace Suites Marriott when she was not allowed to take sick leave.

The plaintiff alleges she was a vested employee and was to receive full benefits including sick leave, but Smiley did not grant her sick leave on numerous occasions for ongoing orthopedic issues that resulted in surgery.

Westman claims she was also not paid overtime despite covering numerous extra shifts at the front desk and was not granted Family Medical Leave Act time off or sick leave in advance of her upcoming surgery.

She asserts she had already put in a full week of work and was granted two days of medical work release by her doctor when she was terminated. Westman also claims following her termination her final work paycheck did not include overtime, sick leave or vacation pay and that her health insurance was cancelled prematurely.

Damages sought include $2,304.32 for overtime, sick leave or vacation pay owed to her in addition to a statutory penalty equal to 90 days pay and attorney's fees.

The plaintiff is also seeking an unspecified amount for medical expenses, pharmaceutical expenses, future loss of wages, physical pain and suffering, disability, loss of enjoyment of life and mental anguish and suffering.

Westman is being represented by Donna U. Grodner of Baton Rouge-based Grodner and Associates.

The case has been assigned to Division E Judge Alvin J. Turner.

Case number 102459

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