Worker Can Bring FMLA Retaliation Claim Despite Ineligibility – Soyoung Yoon Quoted in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
An employee who took 17 weeks of medical leave after being put on a performance improvement plan, received 12 of those weeks as FMLA leave authorized by his employer, Centric Consulting. The leave was designated as FMLA even though the employer did not have the required 50 employees within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite in order for the law to apply.
When the employee was fired for alleged performance reasons three months after he returned, he brought an FMLA retaliation claim against his employer. The court decided for the plaintiff, whose attorney argued that since the employer was told he could take FMLA time, he was entitled to FMLA protections even though it later turned out that he wasn’t eligible.
Soyoung Yoon, a Pierce Atwood employment attorney, noted that the case “perfectly illustrates the old maxim that ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’" And while employers deserve some credit for offering FMLA when they’re not obligated to do so, “There’s a significant downside to going beyond the statutory requirements. By giving the employee FMLA leave, the employer may be cloaking that employee with all the protections of the FMLA, including the protection against interference as well as the protection against retaliation.”
The entire article can be found in the May 7, 2018 edition of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.