Life is unpredictable, and family obligations can interfere with a Texas resident's work from time to time. If an extended leave is necessary in order to recover from an illness or injury -- or care for a qualified family member who is doing so -- employees are entitled to certain protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). An out-of-state woman recently filed a lawsuit against her former employer alleging that she was the victim of wrongful termination after taking extended time off under FMLA.
The woman worked for a financial group when she began experiencing health issues in 2015 due to an unidentified disability. She exercised her rights under FMLA and took an extended leave of absence to deal with her medical issues. She claims that when she ultimately returned to work, she became the victim of harassment by her supervisor/manager.
Sometime later, the woman was fired. She subsequently filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against her employer and supervisor/manager. She is seeking an order to enjoin and restrain the defendants, along with actual, compensatory and liquidated damages. The woman is also requesting that the defendants pay punitive damages for their actions.
If the court determines that she was wrongfully terminated because she took leave under FMLA, it might consider awarding her some or all of the damages requested. Even though most employers comply with the act and do not engage in retaliatory behavior upon an employee's return to work, this woman is undoubtedly not the only person ever to suffer harassment and wrongful termination after taking time off under the act. Texas workers who find themselves in similar situations should seek the advice of an attorney to determine whether litigation is appropriate.
Source: pennrecord.com, "Woman claims wrongful termination after FMLA leave", Louie Torres, Aug. 24, 2016