A former employee of the Wyoming State Museum is suing the museum and the state in federal court, alleging that her employer failed to provide her unpaid time off that is guaranteed under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
Beth Miller filed suit in August of last year. Her lawyers wrote at the time that Miller’s bosses had kept her from taking family leave afforded her under federal law. Miller also alleged that her supervisors retaliated against her after denying her request to care for her biological granddaughter.
Miller adopted her biological granddaughter when her daughter’s heroin addiction made her unable to care for the child, according to court documents.
“The facts are pretty clear,” said Mitchell Osborn, who is representing Miller in the case. “There was a violation of my client’s rights.”
Elizabeth Gagen, who is representing the state and the museum in the case, said through a paralegal that her office does not comment on ongoing litigation.
The most recent version of Miller’s complaint, filed April 21, states that Miller’s supervisor regarded her as the “Superstar of the Museum” before Miller began the adoption process. Four months later, Miller’s supervisor told her that she would have to give four days notice before taking time off. The suit alleges that her supervisor told her coworkers that they did not have to comply with the same requirements as Miller in order to take leave.
Miller’s supervisor also denied her time off under the act four times without explanation, the suit alleges.
Miller requested the time off to watch her granddaughter when the girl’s school was closed and to take her to counseling sessions, according to the complaint.
Miller’s two supervisors were named as defendants in January and April amendments to her lawsuit but were later dismissed from the case after her lawyer failed to serve them with court documents. Although her initial suit alleged that she was treated unfairly on the basis of her gender, that allegation was dropped from later filings.
The Family and Medical Leave Act became federal law in 1993, and guarantees certain employees unpaid leave for specified family and medical purposes. Time taken off to adopt a child or to care for the child within one year of adoption is protected under the act.
Miller is seeking monetary damages of an unspecified amount, including attorney fees, and a court injunction that would prevent further discrimination or retaliation against her.
The case is set to go to trial in July.