FMLA

Employers are often hesitant to take disciplinary or other actions with an employee who has recently requested or has taken leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). While the law does not prohibit such action, employers should maintain a heightened awareness when dealing with employees who have exercised their FMLA rights. Similar to other federal employment statutes the FMLA includes retaliation provisions and often adverse employment actions (such as demotions, changes in position, suspensions, or terminations) are argued to be retaliatory when they are in close temporal proximity to an FMLA leave or requested leave.
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Last week, a federal jury (after only 3 hours of deliberation) awarded a Walmart female pharmacist . . . wait for it . . . $31 MILLION! Maureen McPadden, a 13-year Wal-Mart pharmacist, brought an action alleging retaliatory termination, disability discrimination, and sex discrimination.  McPadden called the verdict, “a message that the little guy has a voice, that Wal-Mart did something wrong.” (more…)

Eddie Employee is an hourly employee of Company, Inc. Eddie notifies Sally Supervisor that he will undergo surgery, and will need continuous medical leave to recover. While out on leave, Eddie’s co-workers, who are “friends” with him on social media, report to Sally that Eddie is posting photographs of him jet-skiing, dancing, and partying on a cruise to the Caribbean. To verify these reports, Sally logs onto her social media account, and sees these photographs. As a result, Sally terminates Eddie’s employment. Does the Company face liability under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)? (more…)