FMLA leave expired? You don’t have to reinstate

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Some employees assume that they’ll automatically return to their old positions after taking FMLA and other leave. That’s not necessarily true. Employers are required to guarantee return only if the employee comes back before her 12 weeks of FMLA leave expire.

Recent case: Sharon Mejias, a private school’s associate admissions director, had an incapacitating anxiety attack. She told her supervisor that her doctor said she needed time off.

Mejias took more than 12 weeks of leave, also taking advantage of an additional leave program the school provided. When she was ready to return, she was informed her job had been filled.

She sued, alleging the FMLA re­­quired her reinstatement. The court disagreed because she had used up her entitlement, which cut off her re­­turn rights. (Mejias v. American Boy­­choir School, No. 11-0562, DC NJ, 2011)

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