Former Trulieve Cannabis Corp. Employee Claims He Was Fired for Taking FMLA Leave
Former Trulieve Cannabis Corp. employee James Catterall has filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that he was denied the opportunity to interview for a higher-paying position and subsequently fired for taking family leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) when his fiancée gave birth.
Catterall joined Trulieve in September 2020 after the company acquired PurePenn LLC, the maker of the Moxie line of cannabis products. He had previously worked as a cultivation technician under PurePenn since October 2019 and was later promoted to cultivation supervisor and irrigation supervisor in May 2022.
According to the complaint filed in Pennsylvania federal court, in October 2022, Catterall informed the company's human resources representative and other managers about his fiancée's upcoming cesarean section and his intention to take leave under the FMLA. He planned to take some leave at that time and reserve the rest for later use.
In January 2023, Catterall was promoted to Plant Health Supervisor along with two coworkers. However, when a position for harvest manager opened in mid-January, despite his qualifications, Catterall was denied an interview, and an external candidate was hired instead.
After taking his approved FMLA leave, Catterall returned to work and alleged that he faced hostility from coworkers who avoided him and refused to interact socially. He also claimed that his work duties were reassigned to others, suggesting he no longer had a role in the company's operations.
Catterall was later informed in a meeting that his position with the company was being eliminated, and his employment was terminated immediately. Trulieve did not offer any alternative work options and asked him to leave immediately.
Catterall's lawsuit includes claims for retaliatory termination, failure to restore an equivalent position, and failure to promote. He is seeking compensatory damages, back and front pay, and punitive damages.
If your employer has retaliated against you for taking FMLA leave, help is available. Reach out to an experienced whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group today.