The Family and Medical Leave Act is meant, in part, to protect workers in Texas and all other states who need to take time away from work for a serious medical condition of their own or for an immediate family member. Taking advantage of this federal law can help workers who may have otherwise been terminated for taking off work for excessive periods of time. However, in some instances, some employees still end up losing their jobs because companies choose not to abide by the law or claim that it does not apply. A woman who worked in a health-care facility in another state claims she lost her job while on an approved leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and has taken her case to federal court to right the wrongs against her.
The plaintiff worked as a certified nursing assistant part-time for nearly two years at the facility. The facility reportedly maintained an attendance policy providing that if a part-time employee is off work for seven days, he or she will be fired. The woman felt ill and did not come to work and then discovered that she had pneumonia. Her doctor informed her that she should not return to work for nine days.
To protect herself, the plaintiff filled out her FMLA paperwork and was approved for a medical leave. The day before she was to return to work -- the eighth day she was out sick -- she was informed she was fired for exceeding the maximum amount of days off. The plaintiff asserts that this was not the real reason she was fired.
The plaintiff -- who happens to be black -- alleges she complained to her superiors that one of the white residents made racially motivated remarks; for these reasons, she requested a work reassignment. She seeks double monetary damages, as per statute, and accuses the facility of wrongfully terminating her and violating the Family and Medical Leave Act. Workers in Texas who need to make use of their right to time off under the FMLA are already under stress physically or emotionally, and those who are fired simply for exercising their legal rights only makes the situation worse. Aggrieved workers in similar circumstances can bring their concerns to an employment law attorney to review their case and determine what steps may be appropriate to enforce their rights.
Source: pennrecord.com, "Woman seeks damages, alleges she was terminated while on medical leave", Carrie Bradon, Jan. 16, 2016