Warn bosses: No negative comments about FMLA leave

Criti­­ciz­­ing employees for taking FMLA leave can mean trouble.

Recent case: When Brenda began to take time off to care for her terminally ill father, her supervisor began making disparaging comments, telling her she should put him in a home and keep her personal problems away from work.

When she took two weeks of FMLA leave as her father was dying, the company decided to cut staff as a cost-saving move. It fired Brenda on her first day back, but soon hired new housekeepers. Brenda sued.

The court said the combination of the supervisor’s comments and the hiring of new employees was evidence of pretext, showing that the discharge may have been motivated in part by Brenda’s use of FMLA leave. (Moore v. Century Gaming, No. B249978, Court of Appeals of Cali­­fo­r­­nia, 2nd Appellate District, 2014)