Court rules that fired employee can pursue FMLA claim

Indiana workers and others in America are entitled to take FMLA leave under certain circumstances. According to a recent ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, one maintenance employee could pursue FMLA claims despite getting fired. The man was hired to work as director of maintenance at Maplewood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and he was given a performance improvement plan in 2012.

At the time, his supervisor claimed that he failed to properly train and mentor a subordinate. He was also accused of not responding to phone calls or taking an active role in resolving security staff or maintenance issues. Around this time, the man started investigating his manager's attendance despite not being authorized to do so. He later received a written and verbal warning as well as a second performance improvement plan.

On June 18, 2012, he returned FMLA paperwork to Mid-Atlantic LLC as he planned on taking care of his father. On June 20, the man was terminated from his position. His employer said it was because of time spent on a performance improvement plan and for making claims that his supervisor stole time. While the court ultimately ruled that the man's termination was not pretextual, it did find that the termination occurred close enough to his FMLA leave request that it could have been retaliatory.

Those who have medical issues or need to care for an ill family member may qualify for FMLA leave. In such a scenario, an employee is generally entitled to take that leave without worrying about losing a job or being reassigned. If an employer violates employment law related to taking FMLA leave, it may be worthwhile to talk with an attorney. This may make it easier to obtain a favorable resolution in the matter.

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