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A U.S. federal judge has allowed a claim for emotional distress brought by a community college employee who received numerous calls from her supervisors while on FMLA leave for cancer-related surgery.

During her FMLA leave, the employee alleged that she received many calls from her employer, the first coming while she was still in surgery! She also complained that the calls continued while she was in recovery at home, and the college president even called her husband when the employee did not answer the telephone.  In addition, she alleged the school sent students to her home during her recovery from major surgery.  Several supervisors would routinely phone her. If she didn’t answer, they would call her husband to insist on speaking with her. Finally, when she returned to work, she was terminated.

She sued, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court said her case could go forward since she had alleged sufficient facts that this conduct was truly extreme, outrageous and was in fact severe enough to cause emotional distress.