Many times employees are afraid that if they take an approved leave under the
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), they won’t get their job back when they return. A recent case out
of the Ninth Circuit has just determined that if an employer doesn’t
give you your job back after an FMLA approved leave, it’s the employer’s
responsibility to provide a legitimate reason why not.
Under the FMLA, certain employees have a right to take leave – such
as workers who have a serious health condition, have to care for a family
member with a serious health condition or to care for the birth or care
of a newborn or adopted child. If you are entitled to leave and provide
sufficient notice, if your employer fails to reinstate you, you may be
able to bring a claim under the FMLA.
Sanders v. Newport, a city employee – Diane Sanders – took an approved leave
of absence due to health problems triggered by poor air quality and the
city’s use of low grade billing paper at her office. After submitting
fitness-for-duty certificates and requesting reinstatement, the city refused
to allow Sanders to return, eventually firing her permanently.
At trial the judge told the jury to decide whether Sanders had proved
that the city fired her without “reasonable cause.” But, the
appeals court said this instruction unfairly required Sanders to show
her firing was not justified. Instead, it should be up to the city to
show that it had legitimate reasons to fire her.
The FMLA is very complicated – if you have any questions concerning
your right to take leave, or are getting ready to return to work from
leave, please contact the experienced
Georgia employment lawyers at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC. We have years of experience helping employees
with the FMLA and ensuring their rights are protected.