FMLA policy omission leaves employer open to lawsuit

Californians who believe their employers treated them unfairly after they requested Family and Medical Leave Act days may be interested in a case involving the Illinois Department of Corrections. According to a report published in February 2016, the IDC fired an ex-employee because he allegedly took off too many days. Although he was taking care of his sick mother and indicated that these days should be counted as part of his 60 days of allotted FMLA leave, the IDC summarily decided that he had exceeded the limit. Notably, they failed to let him know there was a problem before they fired him for it.

The worker filed a lawsuit on the grounds that his employer had interfered with FMLA rules. He claimed that in addition to not telling him how they were calculating the leave days, the employer failed to properly account for the leave he actually had left over.

The court denied IDC’s motion to have the suit dismissed because it failed to demonstrate that it actually told the worker when it commenced its 12-month period for computing FMLA leave. The court also determined that according to its own independent calculations, the man had two weeks of leave days remaining when the incident occurred.

Denial of family leave isn’t the only form of leave-based discrimination that might impact modern professionals. Some bosses attempt to retaliate against those who request leave while disregarding the fact that their own workplace policies may be illegal or improperly vague. Others deny workers career opportunities or ostracize and belittle them in front of their their colleagues. While these forms of employment discrimination vary in nature and severity, they all have negative impacts, and those who feel they have been victimized may want to discuss the matter with an attorney.

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