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Terminating for attendance? Don’t make FMLA a factor

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in FMLA Guidelines,HR Management,Human Resources

Employers have every right to terminate employees who can’t come to work on time—but not for taking FMLA leave.

Recent case: Margaret Barron had a serious tardiness problem and was warned that she could be fired if she continued to come to work late.

Then she called in sick with bronchitis and had to miss several days of work. She also asked HR about the possibility of taking additional FMLA leave for knee surgery. As soon as she returned from her sick leave, she was terminated.

She sued, arguing the timing meant her employer must have fired her for asking for FMLA leave.

The court said a jury should decide whether she was punished for doing so, or whether her employer fired her for tardiness. (Barron v. Quest Diagnostics, No. 09-1247, ED PA, 2010)

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