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Employers are responsible for providing information on FMLA

The fact is that life is unpredictable. Couples have children, people are seriously injured in accidents and serious illnesses can happen without warning. Fortunately, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides for Texas workers to take a certain amount of unpaid leave.

The problem is that many Texas employees are not sure what benefits they actually receive from FMLA. For example, an out-of-state man suffered from a debilitating depression and alcohol dependency. It was recommended that he enter into a rehabilitation program for 30 days. He applied for short-term disability in order to be able to attend the program. This application also served as a request for FMLA.

However, the man was afraid that he would lose his position with his employer, so he attempted to go back to work. He failed to show up for two events scheduled by his employer that he was to attend. He was then terminated.

Thereafter, he filed a lawsuit against his former employer for wrongful termination, which his employer attempted to have dismissed. When the documentation surrounding his FMLA leave was examined, there was no notice included to let him know that his position at the company was protected. Therefore, his case was not dismissed.

When employees apply for FMLA, employers are required by law to include references to job restoration and other protections workers have regarding the positions they are vacating during their leaves. Without an understanding of their rights and responsibilities under the act, an employee might not be able to make an informed decision regarding taking leave. If companies fail to adhere to all of their legal requirements with regard to FMLA leave, employees could have a cause of action if they are terminated during approved leave.

Source:, "FMLA notices: Missing key piece of info keeps employee's lawsuit alive", Christian Schappel, July 6, 2016

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