FMLA stands for the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Under FMLA, workers employed by most businesses with over 50 employees are able to take unpaid leave for medical and family reasons. Under the law, employees at covered businesses are entitled to 12 weeks of leave in a given 12-month period. This leave is available to workers who are caring for a parent or a child or who are recovering from an illness. In spite of these protections, sometimes Texas employers retaliate against workers who use FMLA leave.
Proving retaliation under FMLA
It can be difficult to prove FMLA retaliation. Before terminating an employee, companies will typically develop a paper trail. Recently a surgical assistant’s claim of retaliation was denied. According to the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals, there was not ample evidence for the assertion that she was wrongfully terminated.
The employer’s records showed that this person had been the subject of disciplinary actions related to job performance. For example, in one procedure, the surgical assistant provided a mislabeled syringe. Other medical professionals complained that this worker had also contaminated sterile areas during procedures. The employee received several warnings, including a final warning, prior to termination. These pieces of evidence strengthened the company’s case that the employee had been dealt with appropriately.
Proving FMLA retaliation means showing that the leave taken was directly related to the termination action. In order to prove this type of accusation, workers should track their own timelines and paper trails. They should also save communications like any text messages and emails in which supervisors question or complain about their FMLA leaves.
If you believe that you or a loved one has been subjected to FMLA retaliation, it’s important to contact an attorney. He or she may be able to help you understand if you have a good case and what damages you may be entitled to.