Blue Apron faces lawsuit from former employee who alleges violation of Family and Medical Leave Act

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On the heels of Blue Apron’s lackluster debut on the public market, a former employee is suing the company for allegedly violating the Family and Medical Leave Act, which requires that companies provide employees with job-protected, unpaid leave for certain medical and family reasons.

Blue Apron employed Tapshea Bowman, the plaintiff, as a kitchen associate in November 2015, the lawsuit states. In February 2017, the plaintiff was diagnosed with an E. Coli infection, according to the lawsuit. Bowman texted the Blue Apron employee hotline, which the lawsuit says is a “common practice for employees,” to let her boss know she would be absent from work.

Upon later returning to work, she felt “extremely dizzy and nauseous,” according to the lawsuit. So Bowman again texted the employee hotline to let the company know she would be gone February 19, 2017 and February 20, 2017, the lawsuit states. She returned to work on February 21, 2017, according to the lawsuit. On March 1, 2017, her supervisor allegedly called her into the office and subsequently fired her for not showing up to work.

According to the suit, neither Bowman’s supervisor nor team lead provided her with the date on which she allegedly did not show up. When Bowman tried to explain how her absences qualified for the FMLA, the company allegedly did not allow her to do so.

“As a direct and proximate result of Defendant’s unlawful interference with Plaintiff’s rights under the FMLA, Plaintiff has been deprived of economic and non-economic benefits including, but not limited to lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, humiliation, loss of fringe benefits, disruption of her personal life and loss of enjoyment of the ordinary pleasures of life,” the lawsuit states.

Blue Apron declined to comment, saying that the company does not comment on pending litigation.