Hovde Hall (copy 5/28/20)

Purdue's Board of Trustees has been sued by a former university employee.

A former Purdue employee has filed a federal lawsuit against Purdue’s Board of Trustees and a Purdue employee, alleging they violated the Family and Medical Leave Act when they fired her earlier this year.

Anna Sanchez Clark says in the lawsuit that the University wrongfully fired her from her position in the Office of Admissions in January. According to the lawsuit, Emily Vester — Clark’s friend and supervisor — is, in part, responsible for Clark’s firing.

The lawsuit alleges:

Clark has been clinically diagnosed with “major depression and anxiety,” and, as a friend, Clark confided in Vester about her mental health and personal life.

In January, Clark’s depression and anxiety was “greatly exacerbated” by a family tragedy. On Jan. 14, Clark “notified” Vester that she would not be coming in to work.

“In notifying Vester, Clark followed the usual and customary means for (reporting her absence),” the lawsuit reads. “Vester was aware that Clark’s absence may be for an FMLA-qualifying reason.”

The lawsuit claims that, as Clark’s supervisor, Vester had an obligation to notify the University and to provide Clark with “a notice of eligibility under the FMLA within five business days.”

Vester allegedly failed to do so. The University terminated Clark’s employment on Jan. 17 instead of providing “the required notices of rights and responsibilities” to Clark, under the FMLA.

Clark asks to be rehired and for unpaid wages, among other things.

Purdue spokesperson Tim Doty said the University has not yet received a copy of the lawsuit.

He added, "It is our practice not to comment on personnel matters or open litigation."

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