FMLA doesn’t require damages if employee can’t work

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Even if an employee has been wronged because his employer denied FMLA leave he was entitled to take, he still can’t just sit around and expect the employer to pay him until retirement age. He must make efforts to mitigate his losses by seeking out work that fits his medical restrictions.

Recent case: When Richard Franzen missed work following an accident, Ellis Corporation terminated him for excessive absences. He sued his employer for violating the FMLA. A jury determined that, because Ellis received medical information that should have made it aware that Franzen had a serious health condition, the company should have granted him FMLA leave.

But the jury also found that Franzen’s condition did not enable him to return to his job following the 12 weeks of FMLA leave he should have received. Therefore, the court said he wasn’t entitled to reinstatement. Because Franzen had made no effort to find another job that fit his medical restrictions, the court also rejected his claim that his former employer owed him lost wages. (Franzen v. Ellis Corporation, No. 03-C-641, ND IL, 2007)

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