Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), employees have a right to take a leave of absence from their jobs for certain purposes. The law also protects employees when employers retaliate against them for taking FMLA leave. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently upheld a jury verdict in favor of a nurse who was fired while out on FMLA leave. One of the critical pieces of evidence in the case was a comment by the nurse’s supervisor criticizing her for taking a trip to New York while she was on leave. That comment, combined with the employer’s hiring of a replacement for the nurse before her leave even ended and failure to properly train that replacement, was enough to support the jury’s finding that the nurse had been retaliated against for using her rights under FMLA.
If you are fired or demoted while taking FMLA leave, or shortly after, you may have a claim against your employer for retaliation. In any lawsuit brought on that basis, evidence of retaliation would be essential and would include any negative statements made by supervisors about your leave. The more specific a statement, and the more negative it is, the stronger the claim for retaliation. More than one comment is stronger evidence than a single comment, although even a single comment could be enough evidence. The bottom line is that if you find yourself in a situation where taking FMLA could cost you your job, it is very important that you take note of everything said by your supervisor(s) about your leave.
If you need a Worcester, Massachusetts based employment lawyer for a situation involving retaliation on the basis of FMLA leave Murphy & Rudolf, LLP will fight for you and your rights. The firm of Murphy & Vander Salm represents employees who have been subjected to retaliation by their employers for their exercising legal rights. If you are in need of a Worcester employment lawyer, please contact the law firm of Murphy & Vander Salm today.