Social Media and FMLA Leave: What Employers Need to Know
On April 19th, Florida’s 11th Circuit held that firing an employee for posting vacation photos on social media while on FMLA leave created an issue that could be litigated. The employee was terminated for violating a company social media policy, which prohibited posting negative comments about the company on-line.
Firing an employee on those grounds was not sufficient where the policy’s purpose was not violated nor was there a policy in place that prevented an employee from vacationing while on FMLA leave. Additionally, violation of the employer’s social media policy was not cited in the employer’s termination letter. Furthermore, the employee’s firing was close in time to the end of his FMLA leave, which could expose the company to liability because of the causal connection between the FMLA leave and the firing.
Before firing an employee for abuse of FMLA leave, employers should seek legal counsel. Crary Buchanan, P.A. has several qualified attorneys who can assist if you have any question in this practice area.