Termination While on FMLA Leave
Texas is an at-will employment state. However, despite being classified as at-will employees, workers in the state of Texas still have certain protections under state and federal laws. For example, an employee can’t be terminated based on their race, gender, ethnic background, religion, or disability.
Wrongful termination is defined as being fired for an unlawful reason. If an employee is fired for taking a legal leave of absence, including absences protected by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), he or she may file a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Employment law attorney Dan A. Atkerson can handle cases involving wrongful termination while on FLMA leave. Contact our Dallas, TX area practice to find out if you have a case.
What Is FMLA?
FMLA, or the Family Medical Leave Act, is a federal law that entitles eligible employees to take temporary unpaid leave for specified family or medical reasons.
Situations covered by the FMLA include:
- The birth of a child
- Placement of an adopted child or foster child
- A serious health condition that leaves an employee unable to perform work duties
- The need to care for a spouse, child, or parent who is dealing with a serious health condition
Aside from providing covered employees with the right to take this leave, the FMLA further protects employees from facing discrimination, disciplinary action, or termination for taking a qualified leave of absence.
Is It Legal to Fire Someone on FMLA Leave?
Despite protections under the FMLA, employers do have a legal right to fire employees while they are on FMLA leave. However, they can only do so if it is for legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons.
In other words, an employee cannot be fired for taking the leave of absence or for any other reasons related to the leave of absence. Instead, an employer must be able to show that the termination was completely unrelated to the leave, and that the employee would have been fired even if he or she was not on FMLA leave.
Proving Wrongful Termination
Evidence that may prove useful in a wrongful termination case includes:
- Past employee reviews
- Communication between the employee and supervisors
- Personnel file
- Witness testimony
Mr. Atkerson will work to defend our client’s rights and collect the compensation that is due for damages related to the wrongful termination.
If you have been fired and believe that it was related to FMLA leave, you may be eligible to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. Contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss the details of your case with attorney Dan A. Atkerson. You can reach our practice by calling (214) 383-3606.