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Total Articles: 7

FMLA Interference and Discrimination Claims Survive Despite FMLA Ineligibility

A federal district court in Wisconsin analyzed whether an employee’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) interference and discrimination claims may exist if the employee was ineligible for FMLA leave at the time the leave request was made.

Assignment to a lesser position upon return from leave may support FMLA interference claim.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of an employer, holding that a plaintiff’s testimony and evidence related to her transfer to a position of less responsibility upon return from Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave created an issue of material fact that required a jury to determine whether the employer had interfered with the employee’s FMLA leave. Rodriguez v. University of Miami Hospital, 11th Cir., No. 11-15206, December 3, 2012.

Failing to Return Employee's Phone Calls May Be FMLA Retaliation

During a webinar I conducted last month with the EEOC's John Hendrickson regarding "leave" as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, I pleaded with, begged, cajoled employers to maintain regular contact with an employee while he or she is on FMLA leave. Here is another reason to heed this advice - failing to do so may increase your risk of an FMLA retaliation claim.

Did Weekly Calls To Employee Interfere With FMLA?

That is the question a federal district court in Arkansas recently held would have to be resolved by a jury, and one that should concern any employer seeking to control the abuse of FMLA leave. Terwilliger v Howard Mem Hosp.pdf

Employer's frequent calls to employee during FMLA may create interference with that leave.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an employer is prohibited from denying, restraining, or interfering with an employee’s rights to qualified leave. One federal court recently found that an employer’s frequent phone calls to the employee asking when she would return to work while she was on FMLA leave may have interfered with the employee’s FMLA rights.

Supervisor's Statements May Entitle Employee To FMLA.

To establish a claim of interference with rights under the FMLA, an employee must ordinarily demonstrate that he or she was entitled to FMLA leave. However, a recent decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals confirms that by affirmatively telling an employee that her leave is protected by the FMLA, an employer may waive its right to contest the employee's entitlement to leave.

Cleaning Up Mom's Flooded Basement Not Protected by FMLA.

For employers, it pays to listen closely to the reason for which an employee requests time off, since the reason may not always be covered by the FMLA. Kind of like occasions when the employee tells you he needs time off to clean his mother's flooded basement.
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