Some employees are under the mistaken impression that merely asking for
Employers won’t be found in violation of the if they can show they would have made the same decision regardless of whether the employee was on or was going to use FMLA leave.
Employees who take FMLA leave don’t have greater rights than other employees.
Recent case: Betsy Krutzig sold homes for a home-building company. She hurt her foot while off duty, an injury that would require surgery. Krutzig requested FMLA leave forms from HR.
Before her accident, Krutzig had been on a performance-improvement plan and had received several mixed .
Then, while her FMLA leave request was pending, she met with an irate customer who demanded to speak with the company owners. Krutzig allegedly told the customer that the owners had refused to meet. That turned out to be untrue, according to her employer. Instead, managers claimed Krutzig never approached the owners to schedule a meeting. The company fired her for lying.
Krutzig sued, alleging the company had interfered with her right to FMLA leave.
The court tossed out her case, explaining that the employer had shown it would have fired Krutzig whether she asked for leave or not. Plus, there was no evidence the managers who initiated the discharge actually knew about her FMLA leave request. (Krutzig v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 8:07-CV-2330. MD FL, 2009)
- Proceed with caution when making health-related inquiries
- Not sure employee is eligible for FMLA leave? Play it safe and assume she is
- Quitting time? Performance improvement plan not enough to justify discrimination lawsuit
- Remind bosses: Handle FMLA requests stoically, even if they'll cause scheduling problems
- Is paid 'paternity leave' required?