Don’t punish advocacy for co-worker’s FMLA rights

Remind supervisors: It’s illegal to retaliate against an employee who advocates on behalf of a co-worker’s right to FMLA leave and reinstatement.

Recent case: Susan worked for an organization that serves adults with developmental disabilities. When a co-worker became pregnant, Susan explained the FMLA to her and asked her supervisors to make sure the woman got leave.

A supervisor dismissed Susan’s concern, informing her that the pregnant co-worker probably wouldn’t be back. Shortly after, Susan began facing discipline for minor problems like not completing her Outlook calendar fast enough and not speaking with her supervisor personally when calling in sick.

Then Susan was fired, and she sued, claiming her termination was retaliation. The court said her case should go to trial. (Augustus v. AHRC, No. 11-CV-15, ED NY, 2012)