Doctor's employers found guilty of violation of FMLA and of underpaying him
MichaelM. Jadali, D.O., was employed by Michigan Neurology Associates, P.C., when in close succession he underwent an emergency appendectomy and his wife miscarried a baby. Under his employment agreement with the 90 percent owner of the firm, Dr. Thomas Giancarlo, Jadali would have earned about $350,000.00 in the third year of his contract, however, the parties could not agree on terms for a subsequent year and Jadali was discharged. Giancarlo then "adjusted" Jadali's third-year compensation to deduct his pension contribution of more than $10,000.00. He also denied payment of Jadali's final months' receipts because they were paid to the firm after Jadali was no longer employed by the firm. In addition, he charged Jadali a penalty of $11,000.00 for missed productivity while Jadali missed work with the appendectomy and miscarriage. Jadali filed suit and a jury found in his favor on all of these "deductions," awarding him a significant verdict. Giancarlo appealed.On appeal the three Court of Appeals Judges unanimously upheld the verdict. They noted that the employment contract which Giancarlo misapplied to effect the above credits was ambiguous and could not reasonably be construed as Giancarlo had construed it. Further, it noted that Jadali had already refused compensation for the days he missed work for medical reasons: therefore the $11,000.00 fine that Giancarlo attempted to enforce amounted to an illegal penalty under the Family Medical Leave Act. Interpreting the contract itself, the Court found that the sound interpretation of the contract required the employer to pay the pension contribution and to pay the appropriate share of fees earned--even if they were paid after the employment terminated.