By Tara Eberline, JD
In addition to giving employees the right to job-protected leave, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides two avenues of relief for an Employee when his employer doesn’t comply with its obligations under the law. Read the following article to learn about the distinctions between Fmla interference and retaliation claims and what accounted for the difference between a claim succeeding and failing in one recent case.
Paul Janczak was hired as general manager (GM) of the Canada operations for Tulsa Winch, Inc. (TWI), in 2010. In June 2012, the company’s president visited Janczak’s workplace and noted that the facility was evolving to more of a matrix-reporting structure in which many of the leads reported to individuals at corporate headquarters (rather than to Janczak). On July 6, a TWI vice president recommended elimination of Janczak’s GM position.
About a month later, on July 30, Janczak was injured in a vehicle accident. He took FMLA leave from July 31 until October 1. Although TWI’s president asserted that he decided to eliminate the Canada GM position on or around August 14, documents produced during the litigation showed that two new employees were hired a week later, and it was announced that they would report to the GM.
On the day Janczak returned to work, however, he was told that his position had been discontinued. Janczak sued, arguing his termination interfered with his Fmla Rights and he was retaliated against for exercising his FMLA rights.