Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, an employer can insist that employees comply with the company’s “usual and customary” absentee notice procedures. Often those call-out procedures are part of written leave and attendance policies.
But, as one company found out the hard way, “usual and customary” absentee notice can transcend formal policies and procedures when managers bend the rules.
According to this recent Seventh Circuit’s opinion, “when [the plaintiff] returned from medical leave, her employer … did not allow her to return to her previous position as a lead teacher at her school. Instead, it placed her in a backwater position with fewer responsibilities that required her to split her time between different schools. After a bench trial, the district court determined that the defendant had violated the Family and Medical Leave Act.”
But here’s the thing. The court awarded the plaintiff no money.
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
An employer fires an employee after the company has approved him for intermittent leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The employee begins taking leave in separate blocks of time for a single qualifying reason. Then, the employer fires the employee. So the employee claims FMLA interference.
What exactly is FMLA interference? How does an employee prove it? And what are some defenses? Continue reading