For employers, complicated issues can arise from deciding to terminate an employee who is out on leave. Depending on the circumstances, executing this termination may leave the employer open to a Family and Medical Leave Act lawsuit. In the case of one city worker in Michigan, the employer went ahead with firing the employer while she was out on leave due to surgery, but the employee’s FMLA lawsuit still fell short. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling, which covers Tennessee as well as Michigan, makes it clear that an FMLA plaintiff must not only connect the termination and the FMLA leave in terms of timing but also provide a clear causation linkage. Whether you are in the role of employer or employee, these types of circumstances are clear examples of the need to retain skilled Tennessee FMLA counsel to ensure that your interests are protected.
In the case originating in Michigan, Margaret was a city manager for a local government. She had to undergo surgery and took an absence to deal with her medical needs. While she was out, the city council voted to terminate the woman’s employment, allegedly for causing political strife in the community.
The fired manager sued, alleging that the termination was a violation of the FMLA. The courts, however, ruled in favor of the employer, with the trial court granting summary judgment and the Sixth Circuit upholding that outcome.