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It’s OK to fire in the middle of FMLA leave, but be prepared to show valid, unrelated reason

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in Firing,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Employees who are out on FMLA leave don’t enjoy any special protection against being fired for unrelated reasons. If you can show you would have terminated the worker even if she had not taken FMLA leave, chances are the termination won’t be seen as FMLA interference or retaliation for taking FMLA leave.

However, such a move will probably trigger a lawsuit anyway. That’s why you must be able to convince a court that the employee would have been discharged even if she hadn’t taken leave. That’s easiest if you can point to something like a planned reorganization, an already-made disciplinary decision—or obvious serious misconduct that came to light during the absence.

Otherwise, you may end up facing a jury over allegations you terminated the worker for taking FMLA leave.

Recent case: Miriam worked as a ticket agent for a tour bus company for about five years. She told her boss she needed to take time off work t...(register to read more)

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