Category Personnel/Employment
Title Employees Can't Claim Retaliation If They Are Not FMLA-Eligible
Preview Employees Can't Claim Retaliation If They Are Not FMLA-Eligible

Employees Can't Claim Retaliation If They Are Not FMLA-Eligible

Brandi Walker began her teaching job on August 9. When she became pregnant a couple of months later, Walker casually informed her principal that she wanted to take maternity leave starting August 2 or the next year, which was her due date. After the school decided not to renew her contract, Walker sued, claiming the decision was in retaliation for her leave request. But the court dismissed her lawsuit, saying her leave request wasn't protected by the antiretaliation provision of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The reason was not covered under FMLA is that she had not been remployed for the required 12 months when she requested the leave. Nor would she have been employed at the school for 12 months at the time of her expected due date.

FLMA protects employees against retaliation for taking FMLA leave. However, in this court decision, it is clear that employees retain thus right to protection only if they're actually eligible to take the leave. To be eligible, employees must work for the same employer for at least 12 months and clock at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months leading up to the leave.

Walker v. Elmore County Bd. of Education, No. 02-16509, 11th Cir., August 5, 2004

Bottom Line: The FMLA applies only to schools that have 50 or more employees. When a school has multiple campuses, the number of employes from all the campuses within 75 miles must total 50 or more. Also remember that the employees puts put in 1,250 hours. You may want to consider some of the part-time school employees who don't work during the summer. Even though others may be covered, those under the 1,250 hours would not be. In a 180-day school year, an employee would have to clock at least 7 hours, 5 days a week to be eligible. Finally, giving the FMLA benefit to ineligible employees may open the door to future problems.

LLU 20.1

Notice: This article is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It has been provided to member schools with the understanding that ACSI is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, tax, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Laws vary by jurisdiction, and the specific application of laws to particular facts requires the advice of an attorney.

Association of Christian Schools International
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Phone: 719.528.6906

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