When an employee takes time off from their job, they're entitled to receive notices from their employer informing them about their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Failure to present an employee with these notices can have severe consequences for the employer. Recently, a former bank employee won an FMLA interference claim after he alleged that his employer failed to inform him about his job restoration rights.
The plaintiff in the FMLA interference claim worked as a facilities manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Va. During his employment, the man struggled with alcoholism and depression and was eventually diagnosed with severe depression. After the man was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in November 2010, he was granted one month of FMLA leave that he planned to take from Nov. 10 until Dec. 10.
Though the bank sent the employee notice about some of his FMLA rights, information about the man's right to job protection was not sent. On Nov. 16, the man returned to work because he feared that he would lose his job if he took an entire month off from work. After the man presented his employer with a doctor's note allowing him to return to work, he was sent on a three-day work assignment. The man failed to report to work and was fired on Dec. 21.
Just because an employer approves an employee's request to take FMLA leave does not mean that the employer cannot be sued for FMLA discrimination. If an employer fails to inform an employee about their FMLA rights or fails to reinstate the employee in an equivalent job position when they return from leave, the employee could file a claim for damages.