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Taking part-time job during medical leave isn’t misconduct

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Employees out on disability or FMLA leave sometimes need to supplement their incomes. Taking a part-time job within medical restrictions is one solution.

That may seem disloyal. But firing the employee will probably make her eligible for unemployment benefits.

Recent case: Evelyn DeSmet was offered medical leave as an accommodation for a knee injury. While on leave, she took a part-time job as a food demonstrator in order to pay for her health insurance. The job was within her medical restrictions.

DeSmet’s primary employer fired her for misconduct and disloyalty when it discovered she was working a second job. Her application for un­­employment benefits was contested.

Ultimately, she received benefits after a court ruled it was not disloyalty or misconduct to take a part-time job while on leave from one’s main job. (DeSmet v. FMT, No. A11-841, Court of Appeals of Minnesota, 2012)

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