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After FMLA, OK to reassign worker who can’t do old job

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

An employee who takes FMLA leave is entitled to return to her old job or an equivalent one when she’s ready to return to work.

But what if the employee can’t perform her old job, perhaps because of lingering health problems? Reassign her.

Recent case: Victoria Lamarca worked as a cable splicer for Verizon for many years, beginning in 1978. She was injured several times. The last time she returned to work after taking FMLA leave, she was unable to pass a pole-climbing test and was reassigned to a less strenuous job.

She received the same pay and benefits but sued anyway. The court tossed out her case, reasoning that she couldn’t be assigned to the same job. (Lamarca v. Verizon, No. 09-203, WD PA, 2010)

Final note: The company did the right thing by finding Lamarca a new job with the same compensation.

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