A former Assistant District Attorney of the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office has filed a lawsuit claiming she was fired in retaliation for her request for time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
According to the court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Western New York this week, the former ADA Rachel Mitchell was fired in November 2021 following her request for time off after her husband’s cancer diagnoses the month prior.
Mitchell claims she was advised by human resources that her request for medical leave was moving forward and then received an email that same day from District Attorney Jason Schmidt that she had been terminated effective immediately.
The lawsuit also states that Mitchell claimed that two days before she was fired, she began to receive inquiries about a criminal plea that she had handled three months before and whether she had authorization to enter that plea. She says that she did have authorization and produced call logs to substantiate that.
The suit alleges that the DA’s office “intentionally and willfully interfered with and denied the exercise of rights provided under the FMLA by terminating her employment after she applied for FMLA leave.”
The defendant is seeking an award in damages to be awarded at the trial, including past and future income as well as other benefits.
A statement from Chautauqua County Attorney Patrick Slagle said, “We are aware that a lawsuit has been filed against the County; however, the County has not yet been served any documents and we cannot comment on pending litigation at this time.”