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Court: FMLA may cover not-yet-eligible employees

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

A federal court has rejected Hersha Hospitality Management’s request to toss out an FMLA interference lawsuit filed by an employee who had only worked for the Harrisburg company for 10 months when she was fired.

Employees qualify for FMLA leave if they have worked for their employer for a total of 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months.

According to the woman’s lawsuit, she told her supervisor she was pregnant and would need FMLA leave in six months, after she became eligible for it. Two weeks later, the employee alleges, her supervisor advised her to find other work or take a lesser position in the company. Six days later, Hersha fired her, citing poor performance.

That’s when she sued for FMLA interference and violations of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Hersha moved to have the FMLA charges dismissed because the employee wasn’t eligible for FMLA leave when she was terminated.

The court disagreed, noting that “pre-eligible employees are entitled to covered rights and attempts to exercise such rights” under the FMLA.

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