Federal Judge Dismisses Multiple Claims in Male Employee’s Parental Leave Suit

A judge in a Massachusetts federal court has dismissed four of the nine claims in a 2021 wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former employee against a lighting company and selected company employees. Among the claims that the judge dismissed were Ahmed Eissa’s allegations that Ledvance LLC discriminated against him based on his sex and ethnicity when they terminated him after he took parental leave for the birth of his child. The judge ruled that Eissa waited too long to complain to state and federal agencies about the alleged discrimination. In his ruling, the judge rejected Aissa’s argument that the continuing violations doctrine should save his claims, even though the denial of his parental leave predated the limitations period for reporting suspected discrimination. 

Likewise, the court dismissed the claim that Ledvance’s actions violated the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act. The Massachusetts federal judge also tossed claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress and unpaid wages.

Eissa’s remaining claims allege interference and retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), as well as intentional interference and disruption of his relationship with his employer by his supervisor. 

This suit stemmed from Eissa’s employment as a product manager for Ledvance beginning in 2018. When Eissa’s child was born in October 2019, Eissa asked to take 12 weeks of parental leave. The human resources representative discouraged him from doing so, stating that no other male employee had ever taken a full 12-week parental leave. Eissa also discussed traveling to Egypt to be near extended family during the parental leave, but his supervisor suggested that he work 20 hours per week during his parental leave. He agreed to this arrangement out of fear that he would lose his job if he refused. 

In March 2020, Eissa’s supervisor asked him to cut his leave and trip to Egypt short to participate in a quarterly sales meeting. He agreed but could not return due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eissa could not return to the U.S. until July 2020, when he underwent a two-week quarantine. Ledvance terminated his employment shortly before he was due to return to work, allegedly as part of a reduction in force. Eissa was the only product management team member whom the company terminated. 

The case is Eissa v. Ledvance LLC et al., case number 1:21-cv-11515, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

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