- Convenience retailer RaceTrac Petroleum is being sued by a former employee for allegedly breaching the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by terminating them eight months after they suffered a stroke, according to filings made in the Florida Middle U.S. District Court.
- The employee claims that RaceTrac willfully and intentionally violated the FMLA by firing them despite having worked the prerequisite 1,250 hours in order to qualify for company benefits.
- The employee is seeking relief of between $30,000 and $50,000, as well as RaceTrac reinstating them at their previous rate of pay and with full company benefits, according to the filings.
After suffering a stroke in June 2022, the employee took unpaid leave for a month, according to the lawsuit. They returned in July, resuming duties such as cooking, dishwashing, running the register, restocking and cleaning tables at the RaceTrac off highway 54 in Wesley Chapel, Florida, about 25 miles north of Tampa. They went from working 40 hours per week prior to the injury to 20 afterwards.
In December, the employee contracted bronchitis, “took a few days off” towards the end of the month and then ended up going to the hospital the following February. By this time, the employee still had enough FMLA time to use for medical purposes, but was terminated for “excessive absences,” according to the filings.
RaceTrac has until May 30 to respond to the complaint, or the former employee will receive their requested relief, according to the filings. The retailer did not respond by press time to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
The FMLA requires insured employers to provide employees with job-protected, unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Eligible employees are entitled to 12 work weeks of leave in a 12-month period.
RaceTrac isn’t the only major c-store retailer to have faced a human-resources-related lawsuit in recent months. Since December, Casey’s General Stores and 7-Eleven have also been sued by current or former employees, in those cases due to wage-related issues.
Founded in 1934, Atlanta-based RaceTrac operates over 560 c-stores in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee.