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Have solid reason before firing employee on FMLA leave

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in Firing,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Employers can terminate employees who are on FMLA leave if the employers are sure they can later prove to a jury that they would have made the decision to terminate whether the employee took leave or not.

That’s a tough burden, so you must make sure you have a solid reason—and you must document it.

Recent case: Michael Champion worked in marketing for Spencer Gifts. His boss was terminated when the division didn’t meet its sales goals. Meanwhile, while Champion was on FMLA leave following the birth of his child, Spencer Gifts fired him.

He sued, alleging interference with his FMLA rights.

When Spencer managers were put under oath, they gave conflicting reasons for Champion’s discharge—citing both a reorganization and poor performance. Those shifting explanations were enough to send the case to trial. (Champion v. Spencer Gifts, No. 08-CV-689, DC NJ, 2009)

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