Employees in California should be aware that their actions while on a family or medical leave from work could prompt employers to terminate their jobs. A federal court recently declared that a company did not break the law when it fired a man who violated its social media policy during his leave for shoulder surgery.
Accentia Health, which operated the nursing home where the man worked as an activity director, confronted him after he returned to work following 12 weeks of leave supported by the Family and Medical Leave Act and 30 days of non-FMLA leave. He had originally been granted leave for shoulder surgery, but his posts on Facebook during his leave caught the attention of his co-workers. His social media messages revealed his Caribbean vacation and visit to Busch Gardens Amusement Park. His co-workers informed management about the behavior, and Accentia Health
He sued his former employer, citing its alleged violation of his FMLA rights. The federal court dismissed his claim and issued a summary judgment, holding that the company had not fired him because of the leave but because of his actions that violated a company policy while on leave.
In addition to rights provided by the FMLA, many other employee rights have been established by federal legislation. A person suffering from discrimination because of gender, age, race, or religion or who faces workplace harassment may choose to seek help from an attorney.