Texas woman says she was fired for taking approved FMLA leave

The federal Family Medical Leave Act is often associated with maternity leave here in Texas. However, FMLA leaves are available for many reasons in addition to pregnancy or the pregnancy of a spouse. Under this law, workers of covered employers may also take 12-weeks of leave annually for an adoption or foster placement, a medical emergency or serious health condition, or to care for a relative who is ill.

Unfortunately, employers in Harris County often wrongly deny FMLA leave requests, or even retaliate against workers who request or take leave. A clerical worker in Marshall, Texas, has recently filed a lawsuit against her employer claiming that she was fired when she took an FMLA leave to care for her ill mother.

The woman had worked for the landscaping company for about five years when she requested the FMLA leave. According to The Southeast Texas Record, she claims her employer granted the leave but went on to lay her off.

She has now accused her former employer of violating the FMLA and requested compensation for her lost income and benefits, as well as interest and court costs among other damages.

While we do not know all of the details of this particular case, we do know that employers cannot deny FMLA leaves to those who qualify nor can they retaliate against those who take approved leaves. The Family Medical Leave Act is meant to protect employees from losing their jobs and benefits when certain family needs arise; those whose leave rights have been violated may be wise to seek legal counsel.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, "Clerical worker claims landscape company violated FMLA," Michelle Keahey, Jan. 21, 2013

  • Our employment law firm in Houston helps workers exercise their rights. This includes seeking legal recourse when employers wrongly deny Family Medical Leave Act requests or commit other FMLA wrongdoings.

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