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Linda Heinen v. Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc.

Linda Heinen worked for Kohl’s for nearly nine years as one of the company’s 80+ District Managers. During that time her district routinely ranked in the top 25% of all other districts. But in mid-2016 she took six weeks of workplace medical leave. After returning from leave the work environment changed.  Her supervisor asked about her retirement plans and queried Ms. Heinen on how Ms. Heinen planned to deal with a disabled store manager.

 

In early January 2018 Kohl’s abruptly ended Ms. Heinen’s career and did so shortly after she decided against firing the disabled store manager. At the time of her firing Ms. Heinen was 61 years old. Her replacement (who lacked Ms. Heinen’s qualifications and performance record) was in her mid-30s.

 

Ms. Heinen brought suit claiming, among other things, that Kohl’s discriminated against her on account of her age and retaliated against her for refusing to fire her disabled store manager. A copy of her complaint is available here. A copy of here amended complaint is available here.

 

During the case’s prosecution the Court found that Kohl’s violated civil discovery rules by improperly telling a witness not to bring documents to a deposition and by not having a witness prepared to answer questions at the company’s deposition.

 

Kohl’s has moved for summary judgment dismissal of Ms. Heinen’s Washington Family Medical Leave Act (WFMLA) claim and her wrongful discharge in breach of promise claim. Ms. Heinen’s response briefing is here.

 

The case resolved shortly before trial.


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