Can An Employee Sue Under The FMLA If The Employee Experiences No Monetary Loss?
No – the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld summary judgment dismissal of an employee’s claim under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) because the employee did not suffer any monetary loss.
In Hasenwinkel v. Mosaic, the plaintiff was a nurse who alleged that her former employer violated the FMLA in a number of different ways. No. 14-3786 (8th Cir. Dec. 29, 2015). One of the employee’s allegations was that the employer violated the FMLA by issuing a one-month disciplinary suspension. The employer initially suspended the employee without pay because she failed to report unsafe mold in a group home, in violation of the employer’s policies. However, the employer later issued back pay to the employee for the one-month suspension.
In holding that the employee could not recover for the one-month suspension under the FMLA, the court explained that “a plaintiff proceeding under the FMLA must show actual monetary loss to recover.” Because the plaintiff received back pay for the suspension and did not suffer any monetary losses, the court held that her claim failed as a matter of law.
Takeaway: Employees cannot prevail on claims under the FMLA unless they suffer an actual monetary loss.