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Can I fire an employee after he or she takes leave?

As an employer, one of the most important things that you can do in order to protect yourself and your business is to be well-versed on employment law. This can go a long way toward preventing employment litigation and legal disputes with your employees.

Some of the most common issues in employment law are disputes regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA includes many protections for employees; therefore, employers must take notice of this law and ensure that they are never violating it.

Not all types of leave are the same

First, it is important to understand that there are different types of leave, and they are not equal under the law. When a person takes medical leave, it is done so under the FMLA. This makes it possible for an employee to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for his or her own medical needs, or for those of a close family member. Temporary disability leave is paid leave for a serious illness, but this is not compulsory to offer. All employees should request leave in writing.

Can I fire an employee during or shortly after his or her leave of absence?

While it is lawful to fire an employee for a valid reason while he or she is on leave or after he or she returns, it can be risky. This is because it is unlawful to fire a person as a form of retaliation for taking leave, and it may be interpreted as such.

If you are trying to prevent employment litigation as a Pennsylvania employer, it is important that you educate yourself.

Source: The Nest, "Can an Employer Fire You for Taking a Leave of Absence?," accessed April 26, 2018

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