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Even if you’re wrong, you can fire employee who’s on FMLA

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in Firing,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Surprise! If you reasonably believe an employee who’s out on FMLA leave broke a workplace rule, you can fire him—even if it turns out you were wrong.

Recent case: Instead of showing up for an overtime assignment, Joe took intermittent FMLA leave to care for his sick child. A co-worker had told his boss that Joe was planning to go to a casino that day, so the company suspended Joe pending an investigation. Then it spoke with several employees, who all reported that Joe was planning the casino trip and had encouraged them to call in, too.

Joe was terminated and sued, alleging he never went to the casino.

The court said that was irrelevant. His employer investigated the casino rumor and believed it true, which was good reason to fire Joe. (Pulczinski v. Trinity Structural Towers, No. 11-2585, 8th Cir., 2012)

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