Can’t we do away with rush hour, once and for all!!

ManagementWe don’t often wade into legal workplace disputes, but this one seems like an outrageous employee complaint.

Or is it? What’s your take?

A Lancaster, PA, company is being sued by a former employee who wanted to be able to drive into work late and leave early — so she could avoid rush hour.

Instead the woman says her boss retaliated against her and then fired her illegally.

Andrea DeGerolamo began working at Fulton Bank as a marketing coordinator.

You're Fired!
Her commute, from Berlin, NJ, to Lancaster, PA, was 101.4 miles each way, according to a Google Map distance check.

That’s a four-hour round trip drive – on a good day – which is almost never.

Wear and tear

Five years into the job, in 2012, she sought treatment for anxiety and depression “which was especially aggravated by crowded roadways experienced during the heavy traffic of rush hour.” Hmmmm.

She was granted time off under Family Medical Leave Act. When her FMLA ran out, her doctor recommended she drive in after morning rush hour and leave before evening rush hour, so as not to aggravate her condition.

Her employer at first said OK, but later changed its mind, she claims

She says her rush-hour request was perfectly reasonable, yet she was stripped of her marketing status and assigned clerical duties.

When she complained to the bank’s ethics review board, her suit says, she was promptly fired.

DeGerolamo is seeking lost wages, benefits and compensatory and punitive damages.

The suit is pending in a New Jersey federal court. And it raises two points:

  1. Doesn’t everyone feel some anxiety and depression when battling rush hour traffic?
  2. If everyone came in later and left earlier, wouldn’t that cause new rush hours?

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  1. Cindy Zemke says:

    Not knowing all the facts…ADA accommodation given? Performing essential functions of the job? Regular and predictible attendance should be part of the job requirement. Not sure what she was told about coming in to work and if the company has a flexible work environment and a work at home policy.

  2. “She says her rush-hour request was perfectly reasonable, yet she was stripped of her marketing status and assigned clerical duties.”
    By asking to come in late and leave early she essentially made herself a part time employee. What did she expect?
    Why accept a job you know is so far from your home anyway?

  3. Where is the responsibility of the employee? When the employee committed to taking the job, she knew the work hours and she was also aware of the commute. If your job starts at 8:00 a.m., your responsibility as the employee is to get there on time, how you do that is your choice. She should be happy that her place of employment offered her another job that had the flexibility she was looking for which is what they should have done immediately when her FMLA ran out. When searching for a job, one of my own restrictions was not to commute more than 1/2 hour and I only looked for jobs within that commute time.

  4. Who in their right mind takes a job 100 miles from home? 5 years of that kind of travel could stress anyone. I only travel half that, but to avoid heavy traffic I get to work early and leave late. By coming in late and leaving early every day she made herself a part time employee. Her employer may have agreed to make concessions for a while, but I am sure they never agreed to make it a permanent arrangement. Even when it isn’t “rush hour” traffic is stressful. Sorry she’s stressed, (aren’t we all?) but no benefits/lost wages/punitive damages should be awarded.

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