FMLA error costs employer more than $100,000

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

A federal court has awarded more than $100,000—plus enhanced pension benefits—to an employee who was fired when the company wrongly believed his FMLA leave expired.

Recent case: Carl Thom took FMLA leave for shoulder surgery and was scheduled to return on a set date. He didn’t come back, but told the company he needed more time because of pain. It fired him after concluding his FMLA leave was up.

He sued, alleging he had never been told the company was using the rolling-calendar method to calculate eligibility.

The court said that meant the employer had to use the method most favorable to Thom, which meant he was fired while still eligible for FMLA leave.

The court said Thom was owed more than $100,000 in back pay. Thom also missed accruing pension benefits, so the company must restore those as well. (Thom v. American Standard, No. 3:07-CV-294, ND OH, 2009)

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