California company accused of violating FMLA

When a California family welcomes a new baby, it is often a joyous time. People want to celebrate the birth of the baby and bond as a family. However, pregnancy and birth is often accompanied with medical complications that require employees to take time off from work. When this occurs, California and Federal employment laws may give some employees protections against losing their jobs. In particular, the federal Family Medical Leave Act allows the mother and father of a new baby to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave following the birth of a baby as long as that employee qualifies for benefits.

If employers do not give employees these protections, a legal suit could follow. For example, a California man has filed a lawsuit against the entertainment company 21st Century Fox. In his claim, the man alleges that he was wrongfully terminated and retaliated against for using FMLA benefits.

In his suit, which was recently removed to federal court by Fox, the man claims that shortly after his wife gave birth she began to suffer from postpartum depression. In order to take care of his wife and child, the man gave his employer notice of his need to take FMLA leave. The man claims that his superiors at Fox negatively responded to the tax-planner’s request.

The man still took leave, but claims that when he returned to work he faced issues. He claims that he was suffered from aggressive retaliation because of his leave and was eventually terminated. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has given the man a “right-to-sue notice.”

Fox, on the other hand, claims that the firing was the lawful termination of an at-will employee. They claim that the man failed to take steps to prevent the termination. Additionally, the company says that they took the necessary steps to prevent retaliation following his return.

These legal matters can be extremely complicated. But it is important to remember that in a lawsuit, like the one in this case, those who have suffered violations of their rights under the FMLA may be entitled to compensation.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “Fox Facing Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit After Worker’s Sabbatical for Sick Wife,” Eriq Gardner, April 2, 2015

FindLaw Network