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March 29, 2013

HR Fact Friday: Dishonesty While on FMLA Leave Upheld as Terminable Offense

Filed under: General HR Buzz6:00 am

A Michigan federal court has dismissed a wrongful discharge lawsuit under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) because the employer had a reasonable belief that the employee was abusing her leave time. The case involved a situation where the employee, a student nurse, was injured while moving stretchers. While on leave she took a planned trip to Mexico. Her doctor indicated that this was less strenuous than her work duties and the employee said she had used a wheelchair at the airport. However, while on vacation, the employee posted Facebook pictures of her riding motorbikes, holding beer bottles and holding her grandchildren. When confronted, the employee admitted she did not use wheelchairs at airports. The employer fired her for dishonesty and falsifying records. The court upheld the termination based on the plaintiff’s admitted lies and the employer’s reasonable belief she had abused her leave.

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