An employee who was fired for performance-related issues does not have a legitimate claim under the FMLA just because his request for FMLA leave happened to coincide with the termination of his employment, according to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The employee worked at a bank and he was fired because he was responsible for having controls in place that would have caught an embezzlement that had occurred at the bank. Before he was fired, the employee sought FMLA leave for knee surgery. However, the court found that the employee was not eligible for FMLA leave once he was fired because he was no longer employed by the bank.
According to the court, the employee was fired for a reason unrelated to his request for FMLA leave. An employee who has requested FMLA leave is not entitled to greater rights or benefits than he would be if he had not requested leave. In other words, the employer was entitled to fire the employee for performance related issues even though he had requested FMLA leave for knee surgery.
Edwards v. Harleysville National Bank, Civ. No. 07-3987, (ED Penn. 2008).