Faulty communications over just how much unpaid Family andMedical Leave Act leave, and how much paid maternity leave, an employee was entitled tohave landed her employer in court.

|

HR Dive reports that information in the employer’shandbook on the issue of leave had two separate sections: onediscussed employees’ entitlements to 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave,while the other offered workers eight weeks of paid maternityleave, with the option to take four more weeks unpaid.

|

The employee, according to the report, submitted a formalrequest for time off via e-mail. Titling the e-mail “Maternityleave,” she asked to use accrued vacation first, followed by thematernity leave specified in the handbook.

|

She said in her lawsuit that she believed that the leaves wouldrun consecutively; however, she was fired when she did not returnto work after 12 weeks.

|

The HR manager in the case said that according to her experienceat previous jobs, the leaves were to run concurrently, while herboss, who is a vice president, understood that they would runconsecutively.

|

A federal district court judge has refused to dismiss theemployee’s lawsuit, and has instead determined that a jury shouldhear how she was fired after confusion about how much leave sheactually had available (Rengan v. FX Direct Dealer, LLC, No.1:15-cv-04137 (S.D.N.Y)). The report says, “It is undisputedthat the employer approved the leave and never provided FMLAeligibility and designation notices.”

|

And although there are allegations that the employee was toldverbally she’d have to return after 12 weeks, there are also“allegations that she repeatedly emailed and called the employer toclarify the situation and request more time off, but never heardback.”

|

The report suggests, “Businesses are free to include a note intheir handbooks that any employer-provided leaves will runconcurrently with FMLA, if eligible. Many employers exercise thisoption as it cuts down on the time employees can be out of workeach year.”

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.