Thanks to established employment laws, workers in California and across the United States have benefits and rights to protect them when certain needs arise. The Family and Medical Leave Act gives employees the right to job-protected leave in order to recuperate from an illness or injury or to take care of an immediate family member. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for employers to retaliate against workers who take FMLA leave. A woman in San Francisco filed a lawsuit after she was allegedly fired for using FMLA leave.
The woman worked for a cafe in South San Francisco. The woman said her mother-in-law who lived in Nicaragua became deathly ill. According to the lawsuit, the woman was given permission to take off work and fly to Nicaragua to help care for her dying relative. The lawsuit said that the plaintiff's mother-in-law later died, so the woman came back to San Francisco to return to her job.
However, when she returned to work, the woman said she was fired. Allegedly, her superiors said she was fired for missing too many days of work and the woman's mother-in-law did not qualify for family leave. According to records, the woman's superiors later blamed her termination on their computer system that concluded she should be fired. The plaintiff won the lawsuit and was awarded back pay and unemployment benefits as well as damages for fees and court costs.
The Family and Medical Leave Act allows qualified employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to take care of a sick loved one. California workers who have faced retaliation acts for rightfully using Family and Medical Leave may want to discuss the matter with an experienced attorney. A successful lawsuit could result in financial relief as well as restoration of lost benefits.