These days, much of the evidence used in employment litigation is electronic—such as attendance records. Courts require employers to preserve such evidence when employers reasonably know that a lawsuit could arise.
If evidence is destroyed, courts can impose heavy financial sanctions and even hand a win to the other side without a trial.
Work closely with your managers and your attorney to prevent accidental record destruction.
Recent case: Chad Bryden sued, claiming he had been terminated for requesting. He learned that the company’s outside IT vendor had accidentally destroyed all e-mails, including some that might have shown when he asked for leave.
Fortunately for the employer, it had some handwritten records that provided the information. (Bryden v. Boys and Girls Clubs, No. 09-C-50290, ND IL, 2011)
- Act fast on FMLA leave requests—Delay triggers a violation
- Don't delay on FMLA decision; act quickly or risk liability
- PDA: No special treatment for pregnant workers
- Do your managers know an FMLA request when they see one?
- After FMLA leave, you can require workers to provide back-to-work fitness certification