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Punish employee if you uncover poor work during FMLA leave

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in Firing,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Some employees think that taking FMLA leave gives them complete protection from disciplinary action. That just isn’t so.

For example, when an employee takes FMLA leave, her work may have to be redistributed. If, during that process, you discover that the employee had been doing a poor job, you can take disciplinary action against her.

Recent case: Linda Truesdell, a medical billing service employee, took FMLA leave when her father became ill. When other employees pitched in to do Truesdell’s work, the company discovered complaints about her performance—and that she had failed to deposit some checks. She was fired when she returned from leave.

Truesdell filed an FMLA interference lawsuit.

The court tossed out her case, concluding that the employer had a legitimate reason for firing her. (Truesdell v. Source One, No. 07-1926, DC NJ, 2009)

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