HR Management & Compliance

Timing Is Everything: Returning Employees to Work After FMLA Leave

By Mika Shadid Tucker, JD

You must carefully consider the timing when you execute certain employment decisions that affect an employee who recently exercised her FMLA leave rights. Implementing a previously contemplated adverse employment action isn’t discrimination as long as the FMLA leave wasn’t a motivating factor.

However, the adverse action could support an entitlement claim if it prevented the employee from being restored to the same or a similar position after she returned from FMLA leave.

The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) recently reversed a lower court’s decision to dismiss an employee’s claims of entitlement and retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

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