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FMLA violation even though leave was granted

The Family and Medical Leave Act requires most employers in Florida and around the country to grant unpaid and job-protected leave to workers in certain situations, but companies may face sanctions for violating the 1993 law even when leave is granted. A federal appeals court ruled on June 28 that a bank worker's rights under the FMLA had been violated because a notice sent to him by his employer while he was taking covered leave did not mention that his job was protected.

Employers are required by the FMLA to send workers who are taking leave for family or medical reasons a notice outlining their rights under the law, and this notice must contain language indicating that the worker will either be given their original job or an equivalent job upon their return. The bank worker was granted time off to address substance abuse and mental health issues, but the rights and responsibilities notice sent to him did not indicate that he would be able to return to his old job once his treatment was complete.

The bank worker filed a complaint after being terminated in December 2010. He had been granted leave to address his problems between Nov. 10 and Dec. 10, but he returned to work on Nov. 16. He claimed in his complaint that he returned to work early because he feared for his job. A district court originally ruled in favor of the bank, but that decision was overturned by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

This ruling indicates that the rights of workers are taken seriously by federal judges, and covered employers in Boca Raton and elsewhere are expected to meet all of their legal obligations. Attorneys with experience in employment law cases may advise workers about their rights under federal law, and they could file complaints on their behalf in situations where these rights may have been violated.

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