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Never tie FMLA leave to employee’s performance

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in FMLA Guidelines,HR Management,Human Resources

When preparing a performance review, remind supervisors that they should never mention FMLA leave or appear to use it as a factor in the evaluation. That can lead to a big jury award later if the review is used to justify termination—even during a reduction in force.

Recent case: Suzette took over 10 weeks of FMLA and other medical leave. A few weeks after returning to work, her supervisor prepared a mid-year review in which he mentioned the leave and said it made a transition to a new project “difficult.”

Later, the review was used to rank her last during a reduction in force. She sued and a jury awarded her over $450,000 in damages, because the review was used to justify her ranking and because it clearly used FMLA leave as a factor. (Walker v. Verizon, ED PA, 2017)

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