Wagner Law Group is a nationally recognized practice in the areas of
ERISA and employee benefits, estate planning, employment, labor and
human resources and investment management.
in 1996, The Wagner Law Group is dedicated to the highest standards
of integrity, excellence and thought leadership and is considered to
be amongst the nation's premier ERISA and employee benefits law
firms. The firm has seven offices across the country, providing
unparalleled legal advice to its clients, including large, small and
nonprofit corporations as well as individuals and government entities
worldwide. The Wagner Law Group's 31 attorneys, senior benefits
consultant and four paralegals combine many years of experience
in their fields of practice with a variety of backgrounds. Seven
of the attorneys are AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell
and six are Fellows of the American
College of Employee Benefits Counsel, an invitation-only
organization of nationally recognized employee benefits
lawyers. Seven of the firm's attorneys have been
named to the prestigious Super
Lawyers list for 2017, which highlights outstanding
lawyers based on a rigorous selection process.
Wagner Law Group
Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Fax: (561) 293-3591
7108 Fairway Drive
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
East Kennedy Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33602
Francisco, CA 94104
25 W. Moody Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63119
Employee's FMLA Retaliation
Claim May Proceed to Trial Due to Close Timing of FMLA Request and
federal district court, in Walpool v. Frymaster, LLC, has
allowed a terminated employee's Family and Medical Leave Act
("FMLA") retaliation claim to proceed to trial due to the
close proximity between his request for FMLA leave and his
Background. The plaintiff had been employed for 21 years
when he requested intermittent FMLA leave to take his wife, who had
recently suffered a stroke, to physical therapy. Although the
employer approved the plaintiff's request, he was terminated four
days into the intermittent leave for being absent without notice.
wake of his termination, the plaintiff filed suit against his former
employer, alleging that it had interfered with his previously
approved FMLA leave and terminated him in retaliation for exercising
his right to such leave. In response, the employer requested that the
matter be dismissed because the employee had been terminated because
he had failed to give proper notice of his intent to take leave on
the specific day in question.
Law. The law allows FMLA-eligible employees to take
temporary leave for medical reasons, for the birth or adoption of a
child, and for the care of a spouse, child, or parent who has a
serious health condition without the risk of losing employment.
FMLA, an employer may require that an employee follow its usual and
customary practices for requesting leave. Discipline resulting from
the employer's failure to do so typically does not constitute
interference with FMLA rights unless the employee can show unusual
circumstances. Examples of interfering with the exercise of an
employee's FMLA right include refusing to authorize FMLA leave and
discouraging an employee from using such leave.
Court. The court reviewed the
record and determined that the employee had provided evidence in the
form of paperwork indicating that he: (i) complied with all employee
obligation under FMLA; (ii) was approved for leave; and (iii)
complied with the FMLA policy contained in the employer's employee
handbook. Accordingly, the court ruled that the employee had
sufficiently shown that he gave proper notice that he would be absent
on the day in question. Therefore, the court denied the employer's
request to dismiss the claim before trial.
court further determined that the close timing between the employee's
FMLA request and his termination was enough to establish a causal
link between the two events. As a result, the court also allowed the
employee's retaliation claim to proceed to trial.
Takeaway. Establishing adequate
notice of an FMLA-protected absence is an easy burden for employees
to meet. Therefore, before taking any adverse action against an
employee who has requested FMLA leave, employers must be certain that
that the employee has not previously provided proper notice.