retaliatory termination

Employer Makes $1.3 Million FMLA Mistake by Firing Worker After Mexico Trip

A recent decision from the highest court in Massachusetts emphasizes the risk to employers of taking employment actions based on outrage rather than reason—particularly when it comes to decisions about leaves of absence.

In this case, an employee sued his former employer after he was fired for taking a vacation to Mexico while he was on a medical leave of absence, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld a $1.3 million damage award. A jury had found the company liable for retaliatory termination in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and a state law discrimination statute.

The jury awarded the employee $19,777 in back pay and $300,000 in front pay for lost future income and benefits.

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