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AFLAC pays $16K to settle former employee's wrongful termination claim

Recovering from an illness is not always a once-and-you're done proposition. Sometimes, people who are ill have to take time off on several occasions over a longer time span. We hope that no Detroit reader is unfortunate enough to have an illness that requires this, but it's just a fact that there are probably are many people across Michigan who suffer from these sorts of ailments.

Recently, the American Family Life Assurance Co., better known as AFLAC, agreed to pay over $16,000 to a former employee after it fired the employee for taking time off several times over a longer period of time. The settlement ends the former employee's wrongful termination suit.

AFLAC claimed that the employee had not properly documented why the leave was necessary, but after an investigation, the U.S. Wage and Hour Division found that the employee had filled out the necessary paperwork and that it was AFLAC's fault for mis-classifying the time off.

The case concerned the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off for certain family and medical circumstances without fear that they will be fired or will lose their healthcare coverage.

As this case shows, the FMLA is not always easy for people to understand, be that person an employee or an employer. Sometimes, the guidance of an employment law attorney who understands and works with this law may be necessary.

Source: WTVM-TV, "Aflac agrees to pay former employee nearly $17,000 in FMLA suit," April 3, 2012

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