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FMLA cases can hang on suspicious timing, internal documents

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

The FMLA prohibits employers from interfering with an em­­ployee’s right to take leave or retaliating against an employee for taking leave. In Shaffer v. American Medical Association (No. 10-2117, 7th Cir., 2011), the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reminded employers they cannot base a termination decision on an employee’s decision to take FMLA leave.   

We first covered this case last month in “Never base RIF decision on FMLA leave status.” This month, we’ll look at some of the lessons it can teach employers.

RIF, surgery, change of plans

William Shaffer worked for the Ameri­­can Medical Association (AMA) as the director of leadership communications. In September 2008, as a result of the economic downturn, the AMA’s Chief Marketing Officer Marietta Parenti directed all department heads to reduce their budgets.

Parenti and Michael Lynch, who was Shaffer’s supervisor, decided to eliminate at least one position in Lynch’s depart...(register to read more)

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