Employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the
But employees who are promised they can take “ ” may have a claim against an employer even if it turns out the company isn’t required to comply because it has fewer than 50 employees. Employees can argue that the employer misled them, and that the company should therefore be required to comply with the FMLA.
Recent case: Amy McFadden worked for a bank branch with just a handful of employees. When she became pregnant, a friend told her she should ask her employer for FMLA .
That’s when someone in HR created a file labeled “Amy McFadden’s FMLA file.” Someone also told McFadden she was eligible for FMLA leave, but that her job was not guaranteed.
When McFadden returned from her leave, she was transferred to another branch. She quit and sued, alleging that she had been denied her FMLA right to reinstatement.
The bank explained that it never had more than 50 employees working within 75 miles, and therefore wasn’t required to provide FMLA leave.
But the court said it wasn’t that simple. Because the bank had specifically used the term “FMLA leave” and because McFadden relied on the bank’s statement she could take FMLA leave, it didn’t matter that the bank had too few employees to be covered by the law. (McFadden v. Seagoville State Bank, No. 3:08-CV-0467, ND TX, 2009)
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