Employees may sue HR directors for FMLA violations

Eligible Indiana employees who work for companies that are covered by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work in order to care for their own qualifying medical conditions or those of their family members. If their leave rights are violated, their employers may be held to be liable in subsequent employment lawsuits.

In July, a federal district court in Pennsylvania held that a human resources director may hold personal liability in addition to the liability held by the employer in FMLA violations cases. In that case, a worker took 12 weeks of unpaid leave off from work and requested an accommodation upon returning from surgery of not having to travel long distances for one month.

The human resources director did not respond to her request and fired her as soon as her FMLA leave was finished. The terminated employee then filed a lawsuit against her employer and the human resources director. The HR director requested that she be removed as a defendant in the lawsuit, arguing that she did not have personal liability for the FMLA violations. The court disagreed, ruling that an HR director can be personally liable for violating an employee's FMLA rights.

Workers whose FMLA rights have been violated may be able to recover damages and to get reinstatements to their former positions by filing lawsuits against their employers. Experienced employment law attorneys may evaluate their clients' matters in order to determine the potentially liable parties. This may help them to maximize their clients' potential recoveries of monetary damages for the harm that resulted.

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