by The HR Specialist: Employment Law on July 20, 2012 1:00pm
in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources
Here’s something to watch out for when approving a supervisor’s recommendation to discipline or discharge an employee. If the employee has requested FMLA leave and was previously performing well, be suspicious of claims that she’s now performing poorly.
It’s certainly possible that her performance dipped. But it’s also possible that her supervisor resented her leave request.
Firing her under those circumstances may mean losing an FMLA retaliation and interference lawsuit.
Recent case: Candice worked as a teller at an Illinois bank and received good performance reviews. She didn’t tell co-workers she had multiple sclerosis. When she learned she’d need surgery, she finally told two supervisors that she would need FMLA leave.
Suddenly, Candice faced criticism from both. She suspected that they were worried her absence would mean she’d miss finishing some projects, causing the supervisors to lose a bonus.
Her FMLA leave request was approved, but she was informed that, on the day the leave ended, she’d be terminated for poor performance. During the leave, the bank ignored her leave-extension request and fired her.
Candice sued, alleging FMLA interference and retaliation. The bank argued Candice was granted leave and therefore had nothing to complain about. The court disagreed. It pointed to the timing of events and the fact that the bank never considered her extension request. It sent the case to a jury trial. (Rowe v. U.S. Bancorp, No. 4:11-CV-4015, CD IL, 2012)
Final note: You can fire an employee for poor performance even when she is on FMLA leave. Just make sure you can back up the allegation with examples predating her FMLA leave request.
Like what you’ve read? …Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more…
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you’d like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
” This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/31623/be-wary-of-hitting-employee-with-sudden-criticism-after-fmla-request ”