All by itself, a negative
Advice: Never consider holding leave against an employee. Base your review strictly on work performed while the employee wasn’t on leave.
Recent case: Shakeel Tirmizi took FMLA leave to care for his autistic son. When he returned, he got a performance review that was lower than one he received before he took time off.
He sued, alleging retaliation. But the court tossed out the case, reasoning that a review that didn’t trigger something like a demotion or lost pay isn’t an adverse employment action. (Kramer, et al., v. Exxon, No. 07-0436, DC NJ, 2009)
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- Hire squeaky-clean candidates
- Check union contract when tallying FMLA leave, workers' comp absenteeism