Employees are protected against retaliation for taking. Disciplining an employee who has just returned from such leave is risky, especially if you can’t point to anything truly objective as the reason.
Attributing a “poor attitude” to returning employees is a bad idea unless you can provide specific examples of actual work deficiencies.
Recent case: Peggy Hornak, a lead accountant for EPCO, performed so well she received a bonus in July 2007. But by the end of the year, Hornak was beginning to feel the effects of job stress. Her doctor recommended that she take a four-weekleave of absence for what he called disabling headaches and neck pain.
As soon as she began her FMLA leave, the company persuaded her to continue working at least a few hours while she was off, which she did. She then returned to work after the four-week absence.
Within a few weeks, EPCO told her she could resign or face termination. The reason? Her bosses believed she had returned from leave with a sullen and surly disposition and “she had become increasingly uncooperative and disengaged in the days and weeks following her leave.”
Hornak sued for, arguing that the close timing of her return and dismissal made ’s complaints suspect.
She noted that EPCO had never disciplined her before she asked for FMLA leave, but began a file marked “Peggy’s documentation” as soon as she asked for leave. She pointed out that EPCO had urged her to work during her leave and had given her a bonus months earlier.
The court agreed that the timing—combined with suspicious behavior such as demanding she work during leave and subjective assessments of attitude—was enough to send the case to trial. (Hornak v. EPCO, No. 09-3902, SD TX, 2010)
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/12603/beware-discipline-after-return-from-fmla-leave "
- Before you decide to fire, make sure past job evaluations support your rationale
- 10 ways to welcome vets into your workforce
- Before assuming you must accommodate under ADA, evaluate disability and ability
- Messed up? Then 'fess up and fix your mistake
- Feel free to set generous FMLA notice terms, but rely on the law if you wind up in court