Don’t Become the Victim of an FMLA Lawsuit

FMLA Lawsuits can be a nightmare. We have seen a growing number of stories about expensive FMLA lawsuits that end up costing employers hundreds of thousands of dollars. How can you as an employer avoid them? Consider these recent lawsuits that could have been avoided.

The Staples Lawsuit

Staples Inc. recently struggled with an FMLA lawsuit that resulted in liability for a $275,000 payout. An employee requested leave to care for his terminally ill wife. Later he returned to work following a period of working at home, received a poor performance review, and was unlawfully fired. Staples was ordered to pay the former employee $275,000 for back pay and loss of benefits, and to maintain good standing with future FMLA compliance.

Where They Went Wrong

Staples failed to recognize FMLA leave or to educate their employees on their FMLA rights, which resulted in a wrongful termination. Staples is now working to improve FMLA recognition with training programs for management and informational posters around the office for employees.

The BASIC Solution

Your BASIC Certified Case Manager will conduct supervisor training and provide policy templates and staff hand-outs to make every employee aware of the importance of compliance. BASIC helps employers educate their team on the law so staff as well as supervisors know how to recognize FMLA and the exact steps to take to administer FMLA correctly.

Delbert E Hudson vs Tyson Fresh Meats

A developing FMLA lawsuit involves Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. Employee Delbert Hudson did not show up for work, having asked a friend to inform his supervisor that he was sick and would be out for a few days. He had also directly texted his boss, which he states was a common practice despite being against company policy. Hudson also claimed his FMLA was inaccurately filed, claiming that he signed a “leave of absence application”, but that someone else checked “non-FMLA” on the form when his absence should have been FMLA. When Hudson returned from his leave, he was fired by Tyson.

Where They Went Wrong

Tyson’s lack of enforcement, plus an inefficient call-in system, along with a failure to recognize and track FMLA properly, resulted in wrongful termination, according to Hudson. His lawsuit, just reinstated by the 8th District Court, could prove extremely costly to Tyson Fresh Meats.

The BASIC Solution

BASIC’s FMLA Leave & Absence Management service provides employees 24/7 access to track and document their FMLA absences, using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to a toll-free number and an online Call-Off feature. The IVR can be programmed for single or multiple locations and can track continuous-leave and intermittent-leave events. BASIC FMLA features a two-step claim process with clarification and authentication criteria to help employers determine whether an employee qualifies for FMLA leave.

Don’t become the defendant in an easily avoidable, costly lawsuit!

Learn more about how BASIC can help you avoid FMLA mistakes; click here!

Request a proposal on one of BASIC’s 5 different FMLA & Absence Management service offerings; click here!


US Labor Department sues Staples Contract and Commercial Inc.

FMLA lawsuit against Tyson Fresh Meats reinstated