The importance of upholding the tenets of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) came into focus recently with a game-changing court ruling. In a recent landmark case, an employee who had already been selected for a reduction in force (RIF) informed his employer that he would be scheduling surgery. The employer already had a plan in place to terminate the employee, but they moved the date up when they learned of the surgery. Although the employee did not specifically mention FMLA, he did ask about short-term disability.
When terminated, the employee filed an FMLA interference claim, and a jury agreed that the employer had interfered with his FMLA rights, awarding him double the damages. Although the company argued against double damages, the court affirmed the verdict and liquidated damages award. They also noted that proof of unlawful intent was not required for an FMLA interference claim. This precedent-setting ruling could mean that employers in similar situations will have to pay double damages as well.
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is a federal law that requires covered employers to provide employees with job-protected unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. Those reasons include personal or family illness, family military leave, pregnancy, adoption, or the foster care placement of a child.
If you believe your FMLA rights have been violated, call the Philadelphia FMLA lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. at 215-569-1999, or contact us online for a free consultation. We will protect your workplace rights.