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Steckloff v. Wayne State University

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 8, 2019

Samantha Steckloff, Plaintiff,
v.
Wayne State University, Defendant.

          R. Steven Whalen, U.S. Magistrate Judge.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL DISMISSAL [6]

          Arthur J. Tarnow, Senior United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Defendant Wayne State University's Motion for Partial Dismissal Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) [6] filed on November 13, 2018. The Motion is fully briefed. The Court held a hearing on the Motion on June 10, 2019.

         For the reasons explained below, the Court DENIES Defendant's Motion for Partial Dismissal [6].

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On August 1, 2011, Defendant Wayne State University (“WSU”) hired Plaintiff Samantha Steckloff as a Student Service Center Specialist. In September 2013, WSU promoted Steckloff to Enrollment Management Coordinator.

         On June 9, 2015, Steckloff was diagnosed with breast cancer for which she underwent a double mastectomy. WSU authorized Steckloff to take a period of leave in accordance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). She returned to work on August 20, 2015.

         On September 1, 2015, Steckloff asked her supervisor at the time, LaJoyce Brown, for approval to occasionally work from home while she received chemotherapy treatments. Brown denied her request.

         In early February 2016, Steckloff had a second surgery which required her to take some time off. On February 22, 2016, she returned to work under the supervision of the Director of Undergraduate Admissions, Erica Jackson. She asked Jackson about the possibility of working from home when she felt sick from chemotherapy, but, like Brown, Jackson denied her request. Although she was denied approval to work from home, Steckloff continued to receive intermittent FMLA leave for the remainder of the calendar year.

         Given the frequency of Steckloff's absences, WSU notified her that she would need to use her sick-bank hours, which were unpaid, before should could use her paid vacation hours. In effect, this would reduce Steckloff's salary by the number of sick bank hours she used to cover her absences. In February 2017, Steckloff started to feel the consequences of this policy when she began to receive a significant pay-cut.

         In June 2017, Steckloff again asked Jackson if she could work from home when she felt ill. Both Jackson and an HR representative told Steckloff that she was ineligible. This prompted her to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on June 29, 2017.

         In late August 2017, Steckloff was admitted to the hospital for two weeks. She returned to work on September 15, 2017. On October 4, 2017, she was fired for excessive absenteeism.

         On October 2, 2018, Steckloff, through counsel, commenced this action in Wayne County Circuit Court. On October 18, 2018, WSU removed the action to this Court. She alleges a claim under § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Count I) and state law claims for disparate treatment, retaliation, and failure to accommodate under the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act (“PWDCRA”) (Counts II-IV).

         On November 13, 2018, WSU filed this Motion for Partial Dismissal [6] pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Steckloff filed a Response [9] on December 4, 2018. WSU filed a Reply [10] on December 17, ...


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