Legal Briefings: Firing After FMLA Opens Legal Floodgates

By James Hall

Feb. 24, 2015

On Nov. 23, 2010, after unsuccessfully attempting to contact her supervisor for permission to leave her pharmaceutical job to retrieve medication from her home for back pain, Lori Flood nonetheless left the pharmacy. When she returned, her supervisor noted that she seemed confused and was slurring her words. Flood was placed on administrative leave pending a fitness for duty evaluation. On Jan. 10, 2011, Flood submitted a Family and Medical Leave Act medical certification and was terminated two days later.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland denied University of Maryland Medical System’s summary judgment motion on Flood’s FMLA retaliation claim, finding that Flood established a causal link based on the temporal proximity between her FMLA leave request and her termination. “Given UMMS’s position concerning the severity of Flood’s violation, the seven-week gap between the violation and her termination [and] the temporal proximity between establishing her eligibility for FMLA protected leave and her termination … the court concludes there is sufficient evidence for a jury to find pretext.” Flood v. University of Maryland Medical System Corp., Case No. 12-02100, (Dec. 23, 2014).

IMPACTThe timing of terminating an employee after a request for a protected leave can call into question whether the termination is for a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason.

James E. Hall, Mark T. Kobata and Marty Denis are partners in the law firm Barlow, Kobata and Denis, which has offices in Los Angeles and Chicago. To comment, email FollowWorkforce on Twitter at @workforcenews.

What’s New at

blog workforce

Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


Minimum Wage by State in 2023 – All You Need to Know

Summary Twenty-three states and D.C. raised their minimum wage rates in 2023, effective January 1.  Thr...

federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance

workforce blog


New Labor Laws Taking Effect in 2023

The new year is fast approaching, and with its arrival comes a host of new labor laws that will impact ...

labor laws, minimum wage, wage and hour law

workforce blog


Wage and Hour Laws in 2022: What Employers Need to Know

Whether a mom-and-pop shop with a handful of employees or a large corporation staffing thousands, compl...

compliance, wage and hour law