The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal statute intended to enable workers who need to take leave for legitimate personal and family needs and medical reasons to do so without retribution. A company that retaliates against a worker for using these guaranteed safety net can be held liable in court and ordered to pay damages to the worker.
In the case of Sharif v. United Airlines, Inc., a plaintiff argued this was exactly what happened to him. However, the employer argued the worker had fraudulently taken FMLA leave in order to extend his vacation and further that he made dishonest representations when the company launched an investigation of it.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ultimately sided with the employer, finding the worker had not established a triable issue of fact that the airline truly fired him for taking leave, rather than fraudulently taking leave and then lying about it. Continue reading