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Probation officer names wrong defendant

A former Indiana chief probation officer found his lawsuit for wrongful termination stymied when a federal judge ruled that the claim had named the wrong defendant. The judge based his dismissal on the fact that probation officers serve, in effect, as employees of state and not county courts.

After more than 20 years of service, the officer requested leave for treatment of leukemia under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The FMLA requires certain employers to grant up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under certain conditions. As the end of his leave period approached, the officer requested an extension. His request was denied, however, and following a meeting on the issue with a panel of judges and an HR director, he was terminated.

The officer then filed his wrongful termination claim, adding employment discrimination and retaliation for asserting his FMLA rights. Although an employer is not required to extend the standard 12-week FMLA period, the law may require it if the employee qualifies as disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the request is for reasonable accommodation.

As this case shows, an employer's failure to adhere to certain regulations and laws that are implement to protect workers might be cause for a civil lawsuit. Individuals who are victims of wrongful termination might be able to hold an employer liable for damages suffered in the action. Compensation awarded in such cases might include funds that cover lost wages and other damages. An attorney that is familiar with employment law disputes might be able to review an individual's case and determine if he or she might be eligible for compensation.

Source: Personnel Policy Service, Inc., "When FMLA Leave is Exhausted"

Source: JC Online, "Wrongful termination suit targets state", Ron Wilkins, May 28, 2014

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