Regular readers of our Milwaukee employment law blog know that some employers continue to struggle to meet their obligations under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The law enacted a quarter of a century ago allows workers to take job-protected leave to care for a member of their family or for their own personal health issues.
The statute states that employers are not allowed to "interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of any FMLA-protected right." Yet we still see employers interfering with those rights and sometimes retaliating against workers who make use of their FMLA rights.
A business law attorney who represents employers recently wrote an article urging employers to be aware of the ways in which they can make "costly mistakes" interfering with FMLA rights, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
She cited Brown V HCA Health Services, a case in which a long-time assistant to a CEO mentioned to her employer that she would need surgery. Human Resources tried to get her to delay her operation by two months and then she was told that her job was coming to an end.
However, she applied for FMLA leave, which was approved. She was then terminated while on leave. It should be noted that the assistant had no performance issues prior to the termination of her job.
The worker's FMLA interference claim was given a go-ahead by a court, which agreed that it was possible and plausible that her termination was triggered by her FMLA leave.
If you have notified your employer that you need to take FMLA-related time away from your job and suddenly learn that you are no longer needed or that your position has been eliminated, you can speak with a Milwaukee employment law attorney who can assess your situation and help you pursue the best of your legal options.