Employers may engage in a variety of improper actions when it comes to your requesting, using, or returning from leave to which you are entitled under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This misconduct can range from erecting onerous and unnecessary documentation requirements to counting your FMLA leave against for purposes of punitive “occurrence-based” attendance policies, just to name two. If you’ve encountered an employer making things needlessly difficult or otherwise punishing you for seeking or using FMLA leave, that potentially counts as interference, which is against the law. An experienced FMLA interference lawyer can help you assess how best to proceed based on the facts of your situation.
That issue of FMLA interference came up once again in a recent case from the federal courts. The employee, J.P., worked at a paper mill that had an occurrence-based attendance policy.
From December 2017 to August 2018, J.P. took three periods of FMLA leave. That last period ended on August 5. On August 6, J.P. returned to work. The next day, however, an operations manager told him to leave and to return with a “medical release” from his physician. J.P. did as instructed and, as a result, the employer counted his leaving work early on August 7 as a separate and additional occurrence.