A former director of food services at Jefferson City public schools has filed a lawsuit against the district.
Tammy Weddington’s lawsuit was filed in Cole County Circuit Court Thursday.
Weddington, 56, was employed by the district from 1991 until her layoff in 2019. She had been director of food services at Lewis and Clark Middle School.
In the lawsuit, Weddington’s lawyers said she took approved medical leave in September 2019 under federal family medical leave law to undergo extensive dental surgery. The dentist in Weddington told her that she had to have her lower teeth removed or she would suffer from sepsis.
Weddington claims that District Food Services Manager Dana Doerhoff and District Human Resources Manager Ashley Woods, both named in the lawsuit with the district, illegally interfered with Weddington’s rights under the FMLA and have terminated his employment in November 2019 in retaliation for exercising his rights under the FMLA.
Weddington’s attorneys said in the lawsuit that Doerhoff was Weddington’s direct supervisor and “should have been able to run the food service department in Weddington’s absence, but she (Doerhoff) called Weddington almost daily to ask about the procedure “while Weddington was on leave. The questions focused on food orders, staff issues, and cafeteria operations.
âEssentially, Doerhoff and Woods asked Weddington to continue running the restaurant service over the phone while she was on FMLA approved leave,â the lawsuit says.
After Weddington had dental surgery, she was unable to speak while recovering. Weddington alleges that Doerhoff and Woods terminated her employment while she was still on FMLA approved leave because they claimed Weddington had not contacted them.
In addition to asking for a jury trial, Weddington’s attorneys are asking for damages and ordering the district to either return her to her old post or award her first compensation for a “reasonable period”.
The initial salary is compensation for lost salary from the moment you obtain a judgment in court and your reinstatement in the post from which you were dismissed. However, in many cases, either the employer will not offer a reinstatement or the employee does not wish to return to the position.
The case went to Cole County Judge Dan Green, but no court date has been set.