Ex-Oregon State College employee says he was fired for taking parental go away

Associated Press

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A former Oregon State University employee filed a lawsuit in which he was fired for taking parental leave.

Joseph McQuillin was assistant director of facility maintenance and administrator in the university’s recreational sports division when his wife gave birth to premature babies in 2017, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

According to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Eugene on Wednesday, his wife and twins needed advanced medical care, so McQuillin applied for sheltered medical leave followed by OSU-approved sick leave.

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According to the lawsuit, McQuillin spoke about it with his line manager, Assistant Director Bill Callender. McQuillin returned to work in January 2019. According to the lawsuit, Callender told McQuillin that his medical vacation “let people down”.

Callender also told McQuillin that Leah Dorothy, the director of recreational sports, stripped him of his oversight duties and removed him from the team of directors. The court documents state that this appeared to be retaliation for McQuillin’s family vacation.

The lawsuit also raises an aspect of gender discrimination. McQuillin was treated differently than a father on vacation.

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In June 2019, Callender announced to McQuillin that Dorothy was firing him. The lawsuit states that McQuillin was wrongly terminated, is seeking economic damages and a lawsuit.

“We understand this lawsuit and fully deny its allegations,” said Steve Clark, OSU vice president for university relations and marketing, to OPB. “OSU takes its commitment to non-discrimination seriously and applies its vacation policies and practices fairly for all genders.”

Clark said the OSU adhered to federal Medical Family Leave Act, the Oregon Family Vacation Act, and other university and union guidelines. The university adheres to laws prohibiting retaliation against an employee for family vacation, he said.

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