A Georgia dealership illegally fired a technician while he was on medical leave for COVID-19, a federal suit alleges.
Yu Chieh "Jerry" Yang contends Mike Rezi Nissan in Atlanta wrongly discharged him during his quarantine period and retaliated against him.
The dealer, Mike Rezi, disputed the allegations, telling Fixed Ops Journal: "While we do not normally comment on pending litigation, we can share that many employees took leave for COVID and none were terminated for taking such leave. Many of these employees continue to work for the dealership today."
Rezi said Yang's separation "had absolutely nothing to do with him taking a leave."
According to the suit, Yang was hired in 2018 and earned $120,000 in his first year.
The suit for compensatory and punitive damages, back pay and benefits alleges that a supervisor sent him home when he tested positive Oct. 6, 2020, two days before the dealership hired a new regional fixed ops manager. Yang quarantined for 14 days, was paid for his time off and was cleared to work after a negative test, the suit says.
When he returned Oct. 20, the new regional manager allegedly terminated him without explanation, paperwork or a separation notice, the suit says.
Yang spoke to the dealership's human resources manager, who allegedly was unaware of the discharge.
Two days later, he received an email with a separation notice dated Oct. 12, when he was quarantined, the suit says.
Rezi said the dealership "is confident it will prevail in defending itself."