Employees in Florida are guaranteed, at minimum, 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. Employers can offer more protection for their employees, such as paid leave. A United States Postal Service employee has filed a lawsuit in Texas alleging that he was illegally fired after taking FMLA leave.
The man alleges that he was on leave pursuant to the FMLA to take care of his wife, who was suffering from a serious condition. His complaint states that he was written up when he had doctor’s appointments for which he provided notes. He says he again took leave from April to June 2016 and was thereafter sent a notice that he was terminated from his employment on Sept. 14, 2016.
The former USPS employee is seeking compensation for back pay, reinstatement of his position or compensation in the alternative, compensatory damages, punitive damages, liquidated damages and court costs, including those expended for expert witnesses and attorney’s fees. He has requested a jury trial.
An attorney may be able to assist persons who have been wrongfully terminated based on an unlawful reason such as discrimination, FMLA leave, whistleblowing or sexual harassment. In this case, the employee reportedly took FMLA leave to take care of his wife. The FMLA allows eligible employees to take leave because of their own illness or disability as well as to take care of an immediate family member, including for maternity or paternity leave.
Many cases will depend on whether the employee provided their employer with proper documentation of their request within a reasonable time frame. In this case, the plaintiff alleges that he provided his employer with notes from doctor’s offices and stated that the reason he was taking leave was to take care of his wife. An attorney familiar with FMLA discrimination may be able to advise clients regarding their rights at work pursuant to the FMLA.
Source: SE Texas Record, “Former USPS employee alleges he was terminated while on FMLA leave“, Kristine Gonzales-Abella, 10/04/2018