Employer ‘Mistake’ Leads to FMLA Retaliation Claim

July 26, 2012 – 3:19 pm | By Daniel Cafaro | Post a Comment

A nursing assistant who requested intermittent leave because of her son’s serious health condition says that her employer fired her for taking the leave after it had mistakenly told her that she could take it — and a Pennsylvania district court judge has permitted the retaliation claim to move forward. The case is Medley v. County of Montgomery, No. 12-1995 (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, July 16, 2012.)

Amy Medley filed a lawsuit against Montgomery County, Pa., contending that her former employer retaliated against her for taking FMLA leave — for which she did not qualify — after telling her that she was eligible. To be granted a leave of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act, an employee first must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and 1,250 hours within the prior calendar year. Medley had not reached that threshold with the county, but was led to believe that she had coverage under FMLA when county officials mistakenly told her that she qualified for “family care” leave after three months of continuous employment.

The district court denied the county’s motion to dismiss Medley’s FMLA retaliation claim, quoting a decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Wilson v. Rawle & Henderson LLP, No. 11-4636) which held that “an employer who … makes a definite but erroneous representation to his employee that she is an ‘eligible employee’ and entitled to leave under the FMLA, and has reason to believe that the employee will rely upon it, may be estopped to assert a defense of non-coverage” if the employee reasonably relied on the misrepresentation to her detriment.

For the complete article, see “Employer Mistake…”

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