July 21, 2021 – Instacart Agrees to Settle Case with Plaintiff; Amount Undisclosed
Instacart has agreed to a settlement in principle to resolve the proposed class action detailed on this page, according to a notice of settlement submitted to the court on May 11, 2021. Pursuant to the settlement, which was reached in April after formal mediation, the case is now dismissed with prejudice in its entirety, court papers state.
A monetary amount for the deal and other specifics have not been disclosed in court documents.
Instacart faces a proposed class action in which a former employee claims the mobile grocery delivery and pick-up service refused to allow her to use paid time off before firing her in retaliation for requesting protected medical leave.
The 11-page suit, filed in Georgia federal court, alleges defendant Maplebear, Inc., which does business as Instacart, has violated the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Per the case, the plaintiff was hired by Instacart as a salary-paid customer care manager in February 2019 and terminated on July 10, 2020. While employed, the plaintiff, who worked at Instacart’s Atlanta offices, was considered an exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the complaint relays.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), adjustment disorder, anxiety and depression in April 2020, and requested and was granted intermittent FMLA leave to attend to her condition. As the plaintiff’s condition worsened, she requested extended FMLA leave on May 26, 2020, believing she would be allowed to use her paid time off in connection with the extended leave days, the suit says.
Though the plaintiff’s extended FMLA leave request was granted as of June 1, 2020, the woman did not receive any salary payment on her next scheduled payday, the case claims. When the plaintiff inquired about the missing payment, she was told by a third-party administrator that she was not allowed to use PTO while on a medical leave of absence, the lawsuit says.
Thereafter, the plaintiff, who the case says was unable to survive financially with no income, had no choice but to cancel her FMLA leave and return to work full time on June 20 despite her worsening condition, the complaint reads. Upon returning to work, the plaintiff was “effectively demoted” in that her subordinates were assigned to another manager and she was “sent to a class for new team managers,” according to the suit.
The plaintiff was asked on July 1 to attend a meeting with her supervisor and an Instacart human resources representative, during which she was fired, the lawsuit says. Per the case, the reason given for the plaintiff’s dismissal was that she had failed to complete the class for new team managers. As the suit tells it, the stated reason for the plaintiff’s termination fails to tell the whole story.
“This was a pretextual reason; the real reason Plaintiff’s employment was terminated was in retaliation for asserting her rights under the FMLA and requesting to use her PTO benefits during her medical leave,” the lawsuit alleges.
According to the complaint, Instacart’s policy against using PTO in conjunction with medical leave and the company’s specific denial of the plaintiff’s request to use her PTO in conjunction with FMLA leave amounts to an interference with her rights under the law.
The lawsuit looks to cover all current and former employees of Maplebear, Inc., doing business as Instacart, who, within the last three years, were not allowed to use their PTO benefits in connection with their request for FMLA leave and/or were terminated after requesting the use of their PTO benefits in connection with FMLA leave.
Get class action lawsuit news sent to your inbox – sign up for ClassAction.org’s newsletter here.