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Employee alleges discrimination under Family Medical Leave Act

Under the federal Family Medical Leave Act, employees are allowed to take unpaid leave when a medical issue arises, or if they are required to care for a family member due to their medical condition. When the leave period is over, that employee is to be allowed to return to the post they held prior to when the leave was taken, or a position that is substantially similar. However, there have been occasions when an employer engages in discrimination against an employee for taking a prolonged medical leave, and sometimes an employer will even engage in a retaliatory firing in this type of situation. That may have been the case for one woman, who recently decided to pursue a lawsuit against her former employer.

The 39-year-old woman has stated that she needed a few different instances of medical leave back in 2009, due to breast cancer and the birth of her child. She also needed to take medical leave in 2010. In the wake of these periods of medical leave, the woman was fired for what her employer claimed was a lack of desire for employment.

The woman has now filed a lawsuit alleging that her employer's actions violated the FMLA, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Employees are protected from discriminatory actions by employers, such as the actions alleged by this 39-year-old cancer survivor. However, pursuing these types of claims can be filled with certain steps which must occur in order. In Colorado, for instance, anyone who believes that they have been the victim of discrimination by their employer must first contact either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. This contact must be initiated within 300 days of the alleged act of discrimination. Anyone who believes they may be in this position might what to seek out further information on how to go about holding their employer accountable.

Source: NBC San Diego, "Cancer Survivor Allegedly Fired for Taking Medical Leave," Rory Devine, Jan. 18, 2013

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