Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, Florida employees have the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work for certain reasons without fear of termination. Reasons why people may take this type of leave include the birth of a child, adoption of a new child into a family or caring for a sick immediate family member. FMLA discrimination happens when an employer fires, demotes or treats an employee unfairly after requesting or taking his or her rightful time off.
In a recent case that is brought to trial, a jury will have to determine whether what one employee experienced counts as FMLA discrimination. She claims she was fired for notifying her employer of her intention to take FMLA leave, but her employer maintains her termination was due to less-than-satisfactory performance. The employee states that she has a chronic illness that sometimes impacted her work.
The employee told her bosses that she would be taking leave in the future because of her illness, but she said that the time and duration would be unpredictable because of the sudden timing of flare ups. The Family and Medical Leave Act does allow an employee to take intermittent leave rather that longer periods of time off. After this discussion, her employer downloaded a specific type of software on her computer in order to monitor her work.
FMLA discrimination could be grounds to pursue legal action against a Florida employer. This case illustrates the complexity of disputes involving potential discrimination and wrongful termination related to FMLA leave. To understand the legal options available, it may be helpful to first start with an assessment of the individual case.