Restrict FMLA leave info to those who need to know

A frequent tactic for employees who have used FMLA leave and who are fired around the same time is to allege that they were terminated for taking FMLA leave. But those claims fall apart if the person making the termination decision didn’t know about the leave.

That’s reason enough to limit access to FMLA leave information to those who need to know.

Recent case: Willie was a forklift operator who was fired after allegedly stealing a light bulb from the loading dock. Because he had been taking intermittent FMLA leave for his wife’s cancer treatments, he sued, assuming the real reason for his termination was his FMLA absences, not the light bulb incident.

He lost the case when the employer showed that someone who didn’t know about Willie’s FMLA status had made the termination decision. (Cole­­man v. FFE Transportation, 3:12-CV-1697, ND TX, 2013)