Terminated While Out On FMLA & Sick Leave

Many employees believe that they cannot be fired from their job while they are out of FMLA leave. The courts have been offering less protection these days for FMLA protected leave. You can be terminated in the event that you violate another policy while out on sick leave. For example, the Third Circuit recently affirmed a decision by the District Court where the employer terminated an employee for leaving the country while out on approved FMLA leave. The employee was received paid time off pursuant to the employers sick leave policy. However, the employer’s sick leave policy required that the employee stay within the immediate vicinity of her home while she was on sick leave. The employee went to Mexico while out on leave. The employer terminated her employment because she violated the employer’s sick leave policy. Lesson learned = Employee’s must be aware of the various policies utilized by the company. See Pellegrino v. Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, CLC, 3d Cir., No.11-2639, April 19, 2012.

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