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Beware close timing between FMLA leave, firing

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

It’s all in the timing: An employee may have a case if her request for FMLA leave is suddenly followed by a reorganization that results in the loss of her job.

Recent case: Dina Sotille was the director of social services for Innova Health. She had Crohn’s disease and sometimes needed FMLA leave.

When the company was undergoing reorganization, Sotille was offered a new position at another location. Then she missed work for several days and her doctors told Innova she might need more FMLA leave. Suddenly, Sotille was put on a reduction in force list and was terminated.

She sued, alleging interference with her FMLA leave rights. The court said the close timing was suspect and that Sotille’s case could proceed. (Sotille v. Innova Health, No. 10-62, DC NJ, 2011)

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