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Solid discharge reason trumps retaliation claim

by on
in Employment Law,Firing,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

When an employee is discharged shortly after returning from FMLA leave, she may charge retaliation. The timing alone may be enough to send the case to trial. If an employer has a solid reason for the firing, however, it can win.

Recent case: Pamela Ningard took all her available FMLA leave. Shortly after returning to work, she was assigned to help a customer conduct an on-site inventory. On that job, she allegedly lied to one of the customer’s employees about her company’s business practices. When Ningard’s employer found out about the incident, it fired her.

She sued, alleging FMLA retaliation.

But the court said the company had a legitimate reason to fire her: It believed she was spreading disruptive lies. (Ningard v. Shin Etsu, No. 25424, Court of Appeals of Ohio, 2009)

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