FMLA, or the Family and Medical Leave Act, is a federal statute that guarantees certain employees up to 12 work-weeks worth of unpaid leave annually, without fear of losing their job. The law requires that workers covered by the law maintain worker health benefits during this time, and is intended to help workers balance their family and work responsibilities by granting them the ability to take a reasonable amount of unpaid leave for certain medical and family reasons. It also seeks to help the legitimate interests of employers and promote equal opportunity for men and women. It can be used in a number of different circumstances, including the birth of a child or to care for an immediate family member or spouse who is suffering a serious health condition.
In the recent case of Chumbley v. Board of Education for Peoria District 150, a school district employee has filed an FMLA lawsuit in federal court in Illinois, alleging he was fired because he went on FMLA leave act. As the Society for Human Resource Management reports, the district fired him while he was on leave, with administrators insisting it was because two unrelated performance-related issues were discovered during that time. However, a remark made by plaintiff’s supervisor regarding his FMLA leave supports his claim that the termination was in large part due to the fact that he took this protected leave.
According to court records, plaintiff was hired in 2005 as a director of research, testing and assessment. The position was to last three years, after which time it would be renewed automatically every year, unless the district gave notice that it wouldn’t be renewed by April of the contract year. In March 2010, the district informed plaintiff that it intended to reassign him to a teaching post, but then re-hired him as a director position as an employee-at-will. Continue reading