To review …
An employee requested intermittent leave for back pain which leaves her “completely incapacitated.” The employer granted the request.
A few weeks into the leave, multiple photos of the employee smokin’ and drinkin’ and generally whoopin’ it up at a Polish beer festival appeared all over Facebook. The photos were brought to the attention of management, which promptly launched an investigation.
Management interviewed the employee and asked her to explain the apparent discrepancy between her “completely incapacitated” claim and her festival frivolity. She reminded the employer that her need for leave was intermittent and that she happened to feel pretty good that night. Less than impressed with her explanation, management fired her.
The employee sued, claiming the company retaliated against her for going on FMLA leave.
Here’s what you said …
After 244 votes, 62% of you ruled in favor of the employee and 38% in favor of the employer.
So, what actually happened in the real world? Believe it or not the employer actually won the case.
Here’s an excerpt from the court’s opinion:
[The employer] rightfully considered workplace fraud to be a serious issue and its termination of [the employee] because of her alleged dishonesty constituted a non-retaliatory basis for her discharge. [The employee] did not refute [the employer's] honest belief that her behavior in the photos was inconsistent with her claims of total disability. Thus, as a result of her fraudulent behavior, her claim of FMLA retaliation fails.
As always, thanks for your participation!
(Special thanks to The Employer Handbook for bringing this case to the world’s attention.)