On Friday, March 24, U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly refused to throw out an FMLA wrongful termination case in Washington state.
FMLA Wrongful Termination
Juan Gonazlez, a former detention officer, claims to have been wrongfully terminated for taking FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) to care for his wife and newborn baby. Gonzalez’s employer, GEO Group Inc., was unclear with Gonzales regarding his ability to take FMLA on an intermittent basis. According to Judge Zilly, GEO sent Gonzalez a letter telling him that his FMLA leave was expiring, but Gonzalez stated that an HR manager told him the letter was sent in error. At Friday’s summary judgment hearing, Judge Zilly stated that “(t)he records are a mess, aren’t they?”
According to Mr. Reddy, “Companies hate intermittent FMLA and often accuse duly entitled workers of abusing the policy. There is no reason why a worker who fathers a child should not be granted unpaid leave. This is especially difficult for the sole breadwinner who often cannot afford to take continuous leave. Here [GEO Group Inc.] knew Juan needed intermittent leave to bond with his child and yet they have repeatedly refused to acknowledge their wrongdoing.”
The jury trial is set for April 24.
Read the Law360 article here.