Terminated Foster Farms Employee Still Seeking to Protect Her Family Medical Leave Rights
Maria Escriba, a long-time employee of Foster Farms, was terminated after she took time off to care for her father who was seriously ill and living in Guatemala. Ms. Escriba began working as a general laborer for ConAgra Butterball, at its Turkey Processing Plant in Turlock, California in 1989. She became an employee of Foster Farms on August 2, 1999, when Foster Farms purchased the Butterball facility.
Eligible employees, are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to care for a parent with a serious health condition. Ms. Escriba contended throughout the litigation that she had given adequate notice of her need for such leave and that Foster Farms failed in its duties under the Family and Medical Leave Act and terminated her while she was caring for her father. Foster Farms also contested Ms. Escriba’s entitlement to unemployment benefits—which Ms. Escriba appealed and won—and failed to pay Ms. Escriba’s final wages until after her federal court lawsuit had been filed.
On July 22, 2011, after a six-day trial in federal district court, an 8-person jury returned a verdict against Ms. Escriba. Further procedures in the case are under review.