Be Sure Of Your Facts Before Terminating An Employee On CFRA or FMLA Leave. (Richey v. AutoNation, Inc.)

Your employee goes out on family medical leave allowed by the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), with a doctor’s certification that he is unable to work due to a medical condition. Your policies forbid employees working while on CFRA leave due to their own qualifying medical condition. You hear that he is working elsewhere, and a supervisor spots him at his other job. Another employee also confirms seeing him at work. Honestly believing he’s abusing his right to leave, you terminate him. He sues. An easy win for you, right? Wrong!

The California Court of Appeal recently ruled that an employer’s good faith “honest belief” that an employee on CFRA leave was misusing the leave is no defense to the employee’s claim for violation of his CFRA leave. Instead, the employer bears the burden of proving that the employee had in fact abused his leave rights by working while on leave in violation of company policy. Neither the employer’s good faith belief nor its lack of intent to violate the CFRA are relevant. More…

Your employee goes out on family medical leave allowed by the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), with a doctor’s certification that he is unable to work due to a medical condition. Your policies forbid employees working while on CFRA leave due to their own qualifying medical condition. You hear that he is working elsewhere, and […]