You may be able to litigate under the FMLA - Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. The FMLA is a labor law allowing an employee to take job-protected unpaid leave due to a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform his or her job. The FMLA further guarantees the following rights to eligible workers:
Restoration to the same position upon return to work. If the same position is unavailable, the employer must provide the worker with a position that is substantially equal in pay, benefits, and responsibility.
Protection of employee benefits while on leave. An employee is entitled to reinstatement of all benefits to which the employee was entitled before going on leave.
Protection of the employee to not have their rights under the Act interfered with or denied by an employer.
Protection of the employee from retaliation by an employer for exercising rights under the Act.
Seems to me you might have a claim.
Lawsuits are made up of causes of action, in other words, to file suit, you need a cause of action (at least one).
You can file multiple causes of action together. All causes of action have different elements you have to satisfy. For example, “negligence” is proven if there is (1) a duty owned to Plaintiff and (2) the Defendant breached that duty.
It takes too long to explain all elements of each cause of action, but from my knowledge, you have a lawsuit for the following causes of action: statutory FMLA breach claim - federal, or the state equivalent. Some elements of the causes of action different by state due to different evolution of local law, but they are generally nearly identical.
If the hearing is by Judge (“bench trial
”), the Judge decides. If the hearing is by Jury (“jury trial
”), a majority of the Jury has to decide towards one way. Although a lawsuit is automatically set up to be heard as a bench trial, either party can request a jury trial. Defendants usually prefer a jury trial since it’s harder to convince a few minds, rather than one.
In the end, the Judge or Jury that decides whether or not the elements for each of the causes of action were satisfied, and if so, what damages are needed to rectify the situation.
Know, however, that 85% of such cases are resolved with a stern demand letter from your attorney and perhaps a draft petition included with it. That usually scared them to make a deal to avoid litigation
. When you hire an attorney, make sure to hire them on a contingency basis, i.e. they don't get paid unless you do (usually about 33%, or 40% if reward is from trial). I can help recommend someone in your area. Also, your friend would be protected by whistleblower laws if you due litigate.
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