Employees are entitled to 12 weeks of
But what if you discover during the leave that the employee wasn’t as stellar as you always believed? What if you couldn’t have known that until you hired a temporary replacement. Must you bring the employee back?
No, according to a recent 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision.
Recent case: Kevin Cracco worked for Vitran Express for years and got good reviews. Then he went out on leave, and his temporary replacement discovered what he believed were serious errors. The company investigated and concluded that Cracco had been falsifying delivery records to cover up late or missing shipments. On the day he was scheduled to return, Vitran fired him.
He sued, alleging interference with his .
The company argued that nothing in the FMLA prevents employers from disciplining workers for discovered while they are out on FMLA leave. Otherwise, it reasoned, it would be stuck with a poor employee just because he took FMLA leave.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and dismissed the case. Employees on FMLA leave don’t have greater rights than other employees who perform poorly. (Cracco v. Vitran Express, No. 07-3827, 7th Cir., 2009)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- 10 Secrets to an Effective Performance Review
- Always verify FMLA eligibility before approving leave
- When applicant has more experience, be prepared to justify hiring someone else
- Pushiness pays when negotiating for a new job
- Worker on FMLA leave? Limited contact OK