It’s always a complicated situation when an employee gets hurt on the job. Besides workers’ compensation, the employee might not be able to return to the job yet.
A recent court case highlighted where an employer went wrong after this situation happened.
Unaware she qualified for leave
Noorjahan Ramji worked as a housekeeper for Hospital Housekeeping Systems in Georgia when she injured her knee on the job.
Ramji filed for workers’ comp, and her employer granted the request. However, things got complicated when Ramji was unable to pass several physical tests in order to return to work.
Instead of allowing Ramji to take FMLA leave to recover, the company fired her. At the time, Ramji was unaware she qualified for leave. She then sued Hospital Housekeeping Systems for FMLA interference.
After a court initially ruled in favor of the company, the 11th Circuit reversed the decision and sided with Ramji. It said the company failed to inform Ramji of her rights when it didn’t give her the two FMLA notices she was owed.
The company tried to argue providing workers’ comp should’ve been enough to inform Ramji of her FMLA rights, but the court rejected that argument, saying, “the FMLA does not set up a clash of Titans between itself and workers’ comp.” It still had a responsibility to alert her.
Cite: Ramji v. Hospital Housekeeping Systems, LLC, 4/6/21.